There is a lot of misinformation about trusts, so let me add my own confusion to the pot.
A trust is nothing more than one person trusting another person to do or not do something that will benefit a third person.
Now, there are all kinds of little details that can affect what name you attach to a trust. If you meet certain conditions, then it is called a Massachusetts Trust or Common Law Trust. If you meet other conditions, then it has other names.
Many people have seen the value of a trust to insulate themselves from the evil forces that want to take control of their assets. In theory, a trust set up according to the rules should result in the expected
Because so many have chosen to use trusts that are outside of the mainstream of the modern American way of doing things (i.e. doing it the government's way), it is only natural to expect that the offended government will attack the offender's choice of self protection from the government.
A funny thing about government--it isn't what you do that is important to them. Rather, it is what you call it that is important. In other words, from the government's point of view, "form supersedes substance" despite the well known tradition of law that requires "substance over form."
So, for all those folks out there that are looking to protect their assets from the government, let me make a suggestion. Why not stick it to the government the way the government loves to be stuck? If folks would simply put together their trusts and run them in the way the government loves, then it is guaranteed that the government will never ever ever bother them again. Why? Because if the government were to bother them, the government would immediately come under attack by the big guys in the non-government commercial power structure. Why? Because an attack against you would ultimately mean an attack against them big guys--and them big guys aren't about to give up their benefits.
In fact, it is so important to the big guys that they retain their benefits (and they have the clout to get the government to recognize them) that whole universities are dedicated to teaching a civilian army of specialists in how to defend the big guy's benefits. Those specialists even have names; they are called accountants and tax attorneys. And if they are good enough to hold off the government, the government itself will certify them, and then they can call themselves CPA's (Certified Public Accountants).
So, here is my suggestion on how to set up a bullet proof trust:
1. From your choice of two, pick a trust that the government loves. The two choices are: a. Corporation for profit b. Non-profit corporation 2. Find a CPA that knows the rules inside and out. Have him explain to you how to run your trust (yes all corporations are trusts--they are just labeled differently) so that the trust's tax liability is zero.
Most corporations for profit that take advantage of the government-certified tax dodging specialists (i.e. CPA's) do not pay any significant tax, and non-profit corporations don't pay any tax at all.
Not all CPA's are really that smart, even though they have memorized all the rules. Frankly, it takes more than memorizing rules to really be effective. You also have to learn to work the rules in a way that is acceptable to the form-worshiping government. Fortunately, there are a few CPA's that do have the smarts and are willing to work in behalf of the people. Most of them have situated themselves in Nevada and Wyoming and Delaware.
One of the oldest (perhaps it is the oldest) is a company called Laughlin Associates in Carson City, Nevada. They used to sell a corporation
Another way to find a sharp CPA firm is to go to the law library and look up speakers at tax sessions for lawyers. The speakers are selected for their astuteness when dealing with corporate tax problems. In all likelihood those guys will know the game rules well. They will also charge a lot per hour, but I suspect that there is some relationship between what you get and how much you pay for it. In the long run they are worth the price. Of course, your corporation should never have to pay more than the tax that might otherwise have been paid to the government.
What I am saying is this: It is possible to have a corporation or a non-profit corporation (those are trusts) deal with the government in such a way that the government would not even dream of attacking it, while at the same time releasing your human self from the trials and tribulations of government stupidity and misbehavior. If you do decide to set up a government-blessed corporation, then there is an army of government-certified specialists out there to help you beat the system to your best advantage, especially if you yourself are