“I go to everyone else’s funeral, otherwise they won’t go to mine”. – Yogi Berra
Wether their heirs are minors or adults, few people like to think about their hard earned assets and savings being wasted after they die. Usually, the purpose of giving money to others is to make their lives more secure. Perhaps a child can pay off his or her mortgage. Maybe a grandchild can pay for college or put a downpayment on a first home. Sometimes, a gift of assets can pay for needed medical treatment or even save a life. But, what happens if the heir decides to squander it on casinos or on parties? Is there any way for the giver to guard against this happening?
Yes. We all know that a Last Will and Testament is an important document for determining how and who will administer our estate after death as well as for avoiding fees and taxes. But a Will alone cannot guard against “squandering”. What is needed is a Trust document.
- How is a Trust created? A Trust is created by a special section being added to the Last Will and Testament. This section states that a Trust is being established by naming a trustee, the money or assets that will fund the Trust, and the person or people for whom the Trust is created.
- Who handles the money that is earmarked for the Trust? The named trustee can be named to invest and distribute the assets of the Trust or a financial institution can be chosen as administrator for the trustee.
- How does a Trust guard against heirs squandering the money placed in the Trust? The terms of the Trust can restrict how and when the funds are distributed. Where the heirs are likely to be young people, the Trust can state that only the interest earned from the Trust investments shall be distributed annually or monthly. Another provision can set an age at which the principal may be paid to the heir.
A Trust can be as simple or as detailed as the maker wishes. The ways in which assets can be handled are numerous. Counseling with an expert, who can tailor the terms of the Trust to each family situation is essential.
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