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  • Writer's pictureTLHA Enterprises Inc

Exploring Business Trusts: A Unique Approach to Business Structure

Updated: Feb 2


In business operations, the concept of trusts might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, just as trusts play a crucial role in estate planning, they can also offer significant benefits for small business owners. At TLHA Enterprise Inc, we believe in providing innovative solutions for our clients. In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of business trusts, discussing their mechanics, advantages, drawbacks, and the different types available to entrepreneurs. Consult with a Tax Professional or Lawyer before planning!


 

Do you need a trust?

Trusts: Unique Approach to Business Structure


A business trust operates on the same principles as any other trust arrangement. It involves an agreement where a trustee manages assets or property on behalf of beneficiaries. In the context of a business trust, the trustee is responsible for business operations, transactions, and asset management for the benefit of the beneficiaries.


As a small business owner, you can serve as both the trustee and a beneficiary of the trust that holds your business. However, it's important to note that you can't be the sole beneficiary to maintain the legal structure integrity. Business trust beneficiaries often include investors, shareholders, or, in the case of family-owned businesses, heirs.


Types of Business Trusts


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies business trusts into several categories:


Grantor Trust: In this type, the individual who creates the trust (the grantor) retains control and authority over the trust's assets and distributions. While it offers control, the grantor is responsible for paying taxes on the trust's income.


Simple Trust: Simple trusts must distribute all earnings from trust assets to beneficiaries. However, the principal amount cannot be distributed. Beneficiaries are subject to tax on the income received. A simple trust must file tax returns and has limited deductibility.


Complex Trust: Complex trusts can accumulate income, make various types of distributions, and even engage in charitable activities. Tax filing and deduction options resemble those of simple trusts.


It's important to remember that business trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable. Revocable trusts allow changes or revocation by the grantor, whereas irrevocable trusts are more rigid in structure.


Pros and Cons of Business Trusts


Advantages:

Probate Avoidance: Upon the business owner's death, a trust can circumvent probate, ensuring smoother transitions.


Estate Tax Benefits: Business trusts can help reduce or eliminate estate taxes, which is a crucial aspect of long-term financial planning.


Continuity: The trust structure ensures business operations continue even if the owner becomes incapacitated or passes away.


Asset Separation: Similar to an LLC, business trusts protect personal assets from business-related liabilities.


Privacy: Unlike public filings required for LLCs, business trusts offer greater privacy.


Creditor Protection: Assets held in trust might be safeguarded from creditors' claims.


Drawbacks:

Ongoing Costs: Managing a trust involves ongoing expenses, including third-party management fees.


Legal Complexities: Business trusts aren't universally recognized as a business organization by the IRS.


Fiduciary Responsibility: Trustees must prioritize beneficiaries' interests, which can differ from typical business obligations.



Structure of private business trusts


Navigating Business Trusts


Every business is unique, and the feasibility of a business trust varies. It's vital to evaluate the pros and cons in your specific context. TLHA Enterprise Inc. is here to assist you. Our team of knowledgeable attorneys can help you understand the intricacies, offering tailored advice and strategies.


Conclusion


Exploring business trusts can provide a unique approach to conventional business structures. They offer benefits such as asset protection, estate tax reduction, and business continuity. However, they also entail complexities and legal considerations. If you're intrigued by the concept of business trusts and wish to explore whether they suit your enterprise, contact TLHA Enterprise Inc. Our experienced professionals are ready to guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions for the future. Contact TLHA to start your business today!


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