Talking about what happens to your family and assets after you die can be an uncomfortable—yet necessary—task. Thinking about where your assets and property may go, and even who might care for your children upon your death are not light topics. We get it. It’s important to square these details away now before it’s too late. Let’s start by taking a look at what wills and trusts are all about.
Simply put, a will is a document stating your final wishes after death. Not only does this include management of any liquid assets you hold like savings and investment accounts, wills can also:
- Name an executor, the person who sees your intentions are properly fulfilled
- Appoint guardians for any minors (children <18 years of age)
- Provide a new home for pets
- Set up a charitable donation
- Allocate property in specific ways
Trusts: A Way to Safeguard What Matters Most
When you think about passing your assets onto your loved ones, you may automatically assume one lump sum at one time makes the most sense. Many people do. But acquiring an inheritance all at once can actually be a detrimental blow to your loved ones for a multitude of reasons. This is often where wills get complex and benefit from the guidance of a seasoned professional.
In many cases, setting up a customized trust makes the most sense. A trust is a legal document naming certain rules or limitations about how your assets are handled. It can be the smartest way to safeguard your legacy in various ways such as:
- Shielding assets from creditors
- Spreading out distributions
- Protecting assets in the case of divorce
- Setting up educational accounts for children and grandchildren
Trusts can also place rules on how assets from an IRA are managed in order to maximize benefits. Typically, a child who inherits an IRA will withdraw the money and then owe taxes. But a Protection Trust will stretch the inherited IRA over the beneficiary’s lifetime, allowing the money to grow tax-deferred. Protection Trusts also safeguard your money from creditors, irresponsible spending, divorce, and gambling issues.
Last and certainly not least, if you have a child with special needs, you may worry about their quality of life after you’re gone. Not only can a trust establish income and assistance for your child, but when done properly, the trust will not disqualify your loved one from government assistance.
The DIY approach to creating a will and other end-of-life documents may be tempting, but seeking professional advice can protect your assets and precious loved ones from unwanted circumstances. All of this can feel discouraging and overwhelming to think about, and you don’t need to do it alone. Our expert team walks you through the process and protects what matters most to you.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave? We’d love to talk about your wishes. Reach out to Stuart Boehning, Estate Planning attorney, at 765.742.9066.
Read the other two posts in this estate management series here:
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.