Protecting the Family Inheritance: Beneficiary-Controlled Trusts
In a perfect world:
Your will would be drawn up, your assets distributed in a timely, no-hassle fashion after your death, and your family would be immediately able to enjoy the financial legacy that you spent your life creating for them.
Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. Still, a beneficiary-controlled trust can help ensure that your children will have access to their inheritance in a way that is faster and legally protected longer than some of the more traditional methods. A Beneficiary Trust in many states allows this type of trust to remain in perpetuity for at least a century, if not longer. A Beneficiary Trust also maintains a structure that protects assets from creditors, false heirs, ex-spouses, and any other potential beneficiaries and parties not named by the trust.
The Beneficiary-Controlled Trust: Advantages That You (and your beneficiaries) Can Use
Unlike a bank or other financial institution, your primary beneficiary is named the trustee of your assets. They have the majority of control over asset dispersal and use. With a Beneficiary-Controlled Trust, you may also elect to designate a co-trustee, who will have some control (but less than the primary trustee) over your assets and property.
Income and Principal Distribution:
With a Beneficiary-Controlled Trust, you can give the beneficiary all rights to your assets as an income, without distribution, since this would essentially defeat the trust's purpose and its protection purpose. If your beneficiary does not require an additional income, you may elect to keep your assets outside their taxable estate and still within the protection of the trust.
With a Beneficiary-Controlled Trust, you also have the option of investing your funds into assets that your beneficiaries will be able to use, such as homes, businesses, jewelry, stocks, bonds, etc.
A Beneficiary-Controlled Trust: Knowing all of Your Options
While a Beneficiary-Controlled Trust can avoid many of the hassles and legal stumbling blocks commonly associated with property and asset inheritance and transfer, only your attorney and personal certified financial planning advisor can determine whether this option is right for you. Be sure to discuss this and any other issues concerning your financial and estate planning at your next appointment.
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