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Once you establish an appropriate asset allocation for the trust, it’s advisable to articulate that in an investment policy statement to ensure that the ongoing management of your assets aligns with your intended allocation, risk tolerance and goals Another common problem is when the asset allocation of the trust no longer makes sense for the beneficiary. The age, investment time horizon or liquidity needs of the new trust owner may differ substantially, as is often the case of trusts created at death with assets passing to a much younger generation in a family. For example, a portfolio of bonds may no longer be appropriate if the new trust owner is in their early 30s with no need for income distributions in the next 5 years. What is the tax treatment and how are taxes paid? If a trust earns income, that income is likely subject to income taxes at the federal and perhaps at the state level. Because a trust is a separate taxable entity, different tax forms are required, and the tax rates differ from individual tax rates. If this is your first experience with a trust asset, it’s advisable to work with a CPA to make you aware of trust tax issues so that you can avoid tax-related surprises. One very basic detail to know about trust taxation is that income earned in the trust that is kept in the trust entity will be taxed at trust tax rates. Those rates are likely higher than the individual tax rate you pay on other sources of income. If, instead, funds are distributed to you as the beneficiary, taxation will depend on whether the distribution comes from the trust’s income or original principal. The good news is that distributions of long-term capital gains to the beneficiaries are taxed at the more favorable long-term capital gains on your individual tax return. Taxation of trusts can become extremely complicated, and the structure of the trust itself will play a major role in how the trust gets taxed.

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