According to a recent WealthCounsel survey, 35 percent of people are crafting their estate plans to avoid mismanagement by their heirs. They are setting up trusts, naming third-party trustees to manage their bequests and delaying the age that heirs receive them.
The delayed payout from a trust is also a way for parents to shield assets from Junior’s potential creditors.
Estate planners note than even if a child does not get full access to a bequest until later in life, he or she may still benefit from it in the meantime. It is just that a trustee is making key decisions about how and when to distribute the money.
“A trustee can say, ‘You want a new house? No problem, let the trust buy it for you,’” McClintock says. “That is actually a lot more powerful than receiving a check outright, because then nobody can ever come after those assets.”
When Juliann Reynolds’ husband died of cancer in 1992, she had to decide how to plan her own estate.
The now-retired speech therapist from Rancho Cucamonga, California, knew she had to safeguard the future of her young daughter, Maren. Still, the possibility that her daughter might receive a large chunk of money when she reached the age of consent on her 18th birthday was worrisome, says Reynolds, who is now 65.
Her solution: Stagger the inheritance, so that Maren, now 26 and a mother herself, would have the funds to cover major life events like going to college or buying a first home. Other family members would manage it as trustees in the meantime, but her daughter would not actually have full access to the estate until she was into her 40s.
Reynolds is one of a growing number of parents who are requiring their heirs to wait until they…
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