Different Trusts for Different Estate Planning Purposes

Benjamin LongBeneficiaries, Special Needs, Trusts

Benjamin E. Long, Founding Attorney - Estate Planning and Probate Law

As the founding attorney at Schlagel Long, LLC, in Olathe, Kansas, Benjamin E. Long specializes in crafting tailored estate planning solutions, emphasizing a variety of trusts to meet diverse client needs. His expertise is demonstrated through his insightful blog, notably in his recent piece, "Different Trusts for Different Estate Planning Purposes," which underscores his deep understanding of trust law.


Benjamin’s professional journey began at Kansas State University, where he earned a B.S. in Biology. He then pursued his J.D. at Washburn University School of Law, excelling in advocacy to the extent of being inducted into the Order of Barristers. His academic background contributes to his analytical and comprehensive approach to estate planning.


At Schlagel Long, Benjamin's practice encompasses the creation and management of various trusts, including Revocable Living Trusts, Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts (MAPT), and Special Needs Trusts (SNT). He skillfully navigates the intricacies of each type, ensuring they align with his clients’ unique circumstances and goals. His work with Inheritance Trusts and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT) showcases his ability to address complex estate tax issues and asset protection.


Benjamin's proficiency extends beyond traditional estate planning. He is adept in handling pet trusts, testamentary trusts, and issues related to beneficiaries, special needs, and trusts. His ability to explain these concepts in clear, accessible language is evident in his blog posts, making complex legal topics understandable for a broad audience.


Recognized for his excellence, Benjamin has been named a Super Lawyer Rising Star and has received the Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award. These accolades reflect his commitment to providing high-quality legal services and maintaining strong client relationships.

Beyond his legal practice, Benjamin dedicates time to teaching at Washburn Law School and coaching the Kansas State University Mock Trial Team. These roles further establish his expertise and leadership in the legal community.

Benjamin’s approach is not just about legal proficiency; it’s about understanding and valuing the stories and legacies of the families he serves. He believes in a personal approach, taking time to understand his clients' values and needs, ensuring their estate plans reflect their life’s work and aspirations.

Bar Admissions: Kansas

Professional Associations: American Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, Johnson County Bar Association, U.S. District Court District of Kansas (since 2011)

Education: B.S. in Biology, Kansas State University; J.D., Washburn University School of Law

Benjamin E. Long - Estate Planning Attorney

Not all trusts are alike

“Trusts are legal entities that own assets, and all trusts are not alike. They are created by a written trust document with certain provisions that can vary from trust to trust.”

There are a few things all trusts have in common, explains the article “All trusts are not alike,” from the Times Herald-Record. They all have a “grantor,” the person who creates the trust, a “trustee,” the person who is in charge of the trust, and “beneficiaries,” the people who receive trust income or assets. After that, they are all different. Here’s an overview of the different types of trusts and how they are used in estate planning.

Revocable Living Trust

“Revocable Living Trust” is a trust created while the grantor is still alive, when assets are transferred into the trust. The trustee transfers assets to beneficiaries, when the grantor dies. The trustee does not have to be appointed by the court, so there’s no need for the assets in the trust to go through probate. Living trusts are used to save time and money, when settling estates and to avoid will contests.

Medicaid Asset Protection Trust

A “Medicaid Asset Protection Trust” (MAPT) is an irrevocable trust created during the lifetime of the grantor. It is used to shield assets from the grantor’s nursing home costs but is only effective five years after assets have been placed in the trust. The assets are also shielded from home care costs after assets are in the trust for two and a half years. Assets in the MAPT trust do not go through probate.

Special Needs Trust

The Supplemental or Special Needs Trust (SNT) is used to hold assets for a disabled person who receives means-tested government benefits, like Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. The trustee is permitted to use the trust assets to benefit the individual but may not give trust assets directly to the individual. The SNT lets the beneficiary have access to assets, without jeopardizing their government benefits.

Inheritance Trust

An “Inheritance Trust” is created by the grantor for a beneficiary and leaves the inheritance in trust for the beneficiary on the death of the trust’s creator. Assets do not go directly to the beneficiary. If the beneficiary dies, the remaining assets in the trust go to the beneficiary’s children, and not to the spouse. This is a means of keeping assets in the bloodline and protected from the beneficiary’s divorces, creditors and lawsuits.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

An “Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust” (ILIT) owns life insurance to pay for the grantor’s estate taxes and keeps the value of the life insurance policy out of the grantor’s estate, minimizing estate taxes. As of this writing, the federal estate tax exemption is $11.58 million per person.

Pet Trust

A “Pet Trust” holds assets to be used to care for the grantor’s surviving pets. There is a trustee who is charge of the assets, and usually a caretaker is tasked to care for the pets. There are instances where the same person serves as the trustee and the caretaker. When the pets die, remaining trust assets go to named contingent beneficiaries.

Testamentary Trust

A “Testamentary Trust” is created by a will, and assets held in a Testamentary Trust do not avoid probate and do not help to minimize estate taxes.

An estate planning attorney in your area will know which of these trusts will best benefit your situation.

Reference: Times Herald-Record (August 1,2020) “All trusts are not alike”

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