Whether you're planning for your retirement, seeking to manage your estate, or looking to protect your assets for the benefit of future generations, trusts offer a flexible and secure legal instrument. Our practice provides a comprehensive service that guides you through the intricacies of trust law, ensuring peace of mind for you and your loved ones. 

At John B. Chappell, Attorney at Law, based in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, we proudly serve clients throughout McKenney, Dewitt, Carson, Dabney Estates, Sutherland, Wilsons, and West Petersburg. With our team, including John B. Chappell and Jessica L. Henshaw, you can be confident that your legal matters are in capable hands.

Don't wait to secure your future. Reach out to us today, and let's start crafting a plan tailored to your needs. 

The Power of Trusts

Trusts offer several benefits. They allow your assets to bypass probate, saving your beneficiaries time and money. Trusts also enable you to dictate when and how your assets should be distributed, offering peace of mind that your wishes will be followed.

Moreover, should you become mentally incapacitated, a trust ensures that your assets are managed according to your preferences. And, unlike a will, a trust remains private and does not become part of public record. 



Overview of Trusts

Trusts are a fundamental part of estate planning. Simply put, a trust is a legal arrangement where one person (the trustee) holds property for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary). Unlike wills, trusts provide a higher level of control over how your assets are distributed after your death. 


A revocable trust allows you to maintain control of your assets during your lifetime. You can alter, change, modify, or revoke this type of trust whenever you want. 


An irrevocable trust, on the other hand, cannot be altered or revoked without the consent of the beneficiary. This type of trust provides potential tax benefits and protects your assets from creditors. 

Choosing a Trustee and Beneficiaries

When setting up a trust, choosing the right trustee and beneficiaries is crucial. Your trustee should be someone responsible and trustworthy since they'll be in charge of managing your assets. When selecting beneficiaries, consider their needs, their ability to manage assets, and any potential conflicts that might arise among them. 

How to Set Up a Trust

Setting up a trust begins with a decision on the type of trust that best suits your needs, after which you should seek guidance from an estate planning attorney to draft the trust document. This legally binding document outlines all the details of the trust, including the designation of the trustee, the beneficiaries, and the specific terms under which the trust will operate. It's essential to choose a reliable trustee who can manage your trust effectively and in line with your wishes.  

Once the trust document is created, you must then fund the trust by transferring ownership of your assets into it. This can include bank accounts, real estate, investments, and other personal property. Regular reviews and updates to your trust document are recommended to ensure it remains current with your wishes and any changes in the law. 

Common Misconceptions About Trusts

Many individuals hesitate to create a trust because misconceptions sway them. It's important to dispel these myths to make informed decisions about your estate planning. 

Misconception #1: Trusts Are Only for the Wealthy 

One of the most prevalent myths is that trusts are only for the rich. In reality, trusts can be beneficial for people of various financial standing. They offer asset protection and ensure that your wishes are honored, regardless of the size of your estate. 

Misconception #2: Trusts Are Too Complicated 

While trusts are legal documents and do have complexities, they aren't inherently too complicated for the average person to understand. With the right guidance, the process of creating a trust can be straightforward. 

Misconception #3: You Lose Control Over Your Assets 

Some people believe that once you place assets in a trust, you lose control over them. This is not true, especially with revocable trusts. You can maintain substantial control and make changes as long as you are alive and competent. 

Misconception #4: Trusts Avoid Taxes Completely 

Trusts can provide tax benefits, but they do not completely avoid taxes. Certain types of trusts may reduce estate taxes or offer other tax advantages, but it is a misconception that trusts inherently have no tax implications. 

Misconception #5: Wills Are Sufficient; Trusts Are Redundant 

Many assume a will is enough and a trust is just an unnecessary extra step. However, trusts can provide benefits that wills cannot, such as avoiding probate, offering privacy, and managing your affairs if you become incapacitated. 

By understanding the actual implications and benefits of trusts, you can better assess whether a trust is suitable for your estate planning needs.


We hope this guide has helped clarify what trusts are and why they're important. As your local attorneys in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, we're committed to helping you navigate the complexities of estate planning. If you're considering setting up a trust or if you have any questions about the process, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help. Trust us to secure your legacy and give you peace of mind. Call us today!