Estate planning offers tools to establish and maintain effective control over cash, investments and real estate assets during a person's lifetime and upon death. While wills and beneficiary designations work well to ensure that an estate plan meets the unique needs of the individual establishing the plan, each has its limits.
If you've heard of trust funds but don't know what they are or how they work, you're not alone. Many people know just one key fact about trust funds: they're set up by the ultra-wealthy as a way to protect passing on significant sums of money to family, friends or entities (charities, for example) after they pass away.
Beneficiaries of a trust typically pay taxes on the distributions they receive from the trust's income, rather than the trust itself paying the tax. However, such beneficiaries are not subject to taxes on distributions from the trust's principal.