Trust Based Estate Planning

Do you have children from a prior marriage? Want control over when your assets are given to your beneficiaries? There are some situations that a basic, will-based estate plan can’t handle.

Wills are used to name beneficiaries to receive your assets when you die. But Wills do not allow you to control how and when your beneficiaries inherit. Trusts are great estate planning tools that allow you to decide how and when a beneficiary inherits your property, as well as make their inheritance contingent on certain factors.

Think about this scenario

You are happily married to Bob. You have two children from a previous marriage, Mike and Jane. You have a Will that says that if you die you give all of your assets to Bob. You die, and Bob inherits everything that you own. Several years pass, and Bob gets remarried to Cindy. Bob writes a new Will that says that if he dies he gives all of his assets to Cindy. Bob dies, and Cindy inherits all of the assets that you left for Bob, including your family camp.

But what about Mike and Jane? Was their family camp just given to a woman they barely know? In this situation, a Revocable Living Trust could have been used to give Bob the use of all of your assets during his life (he can still take the kids to the family camp), but ensure that Mike and Jane inherited your assets after Bob’s death. This situation is not uncommon in blended families.

As attorneys we’ve helped many families avoid this type of scenario. If you are worried about accomplishing a specific estate planning goal, give us a call. We’re happy to explain all of the possibilities and make sure you have a plan in place that is right for you.