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The benefits of a silent trust

Some people in Nevada who are creating an estate plan might be interested in creating what is known as a silent trust. This differs from most other types of trusts because in a silent trust, a trustee does not have the same obligations to keep beneficiaries informed.

Usually, a silent trust is an irrevocable trust. The terms may vary. The trust will name the beneficiaries, but a trustee might be prohibited from giving those beneficiaries certain pieces of information about the trust. This can be up to and including not informing the beneficiaries that the trust exists at all.

For example, the trust might appoint a surrogate to whom the trustee provides information instead of the beneficiary. The trust might specify that information should only be provided to current beneficiaries and not contingent beneficiaries. The trustee could be prohibited from volunteering information or the trust document itself to the beneficiary and might only be permitted to provide it upon request, or the trustee could be prohibited from revealing anything about the trust at all. This could include the existence of the trust itself. Usually, these restrictions are set to last for a certain period of time or until the beneficiary reaches a certain age.

Trusts have a number of uses in an estate plan and are not just for wealthy people. For example, if there is a family member who has special needs and who receives government benefits, that person may not be able to inherit assets without losing those benefits. However, a special needs trust can be set up to take care of the person's rent or other needs without risking the loss of benefits. People should think carefully about who they appoint as trustee since this is a position that carries a great deal of responsibility and may require legal and financial expertise.

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