Top 20 Tips from Twenty Years
Silly Rabbit, Trusts are Not Just for Kids!!
#19 – “What You Can Do with Trusts” is my favorite tip in this series. With increasing questions about trusts and requests for guidance, I became a Certified Trust Financial Adviser. While I’m not an attorney, I can serve as a professional trustee, executor/personal representative, and power of attorney.
A revocable trust could allow a professional trustee to step in and manage your assets for your care. With family members spread out all over the country, it’s prudent to have a local advocate when you can no longer handle matters on your own. A trustee may need to manage your investments or simply pay your bills. A trust can also be an excellent way to provide resources to your loved ones. Please know that if you are concerned about leaving a large amount of money to your beneficiaries all at once, you are not alone. With the guidance of an experienced attorney and the selection of a professional trustee, a trust really can give you control after you pass on. You can protect those you care about from themselves and from others. Here are just a few ways a trust can help:
Sudden Wealth Syndrome destroys the finances of a ridiculously high percentage of lottery winners. 80% or more go bankrupt within five years! The same thing can happen to someone who inherits a large sum of money! Why? First, they are usually ill-equipped to handle the money all at once, and, as a result, they make a series of poor decisions. Second, a financial windfall often attracts the wrong people, including “new friends,” and folks with “investment deals.” A trust could provide structure and accountability.
Self-Destructive Behavior can be magnified by a large influx of cash. Sadly and ironically, a large inheritance could be deadly for the child who is irresponsible or who has an addictive personality. Regardless of age, a trust could be used to put him/her on a monthly allowance. And, if the child were to need professional help, the trustee could also be authorized to make those payments. All the while, the trust funds could be managed professionally.
Two more quick points: money held in a trust usually isn’t considered a marital asset in the event of the divorce of a beneficiary, nor is it considered attachable by the beneficiary’s creditors – if set up correctly.
Trusts can help you ensure your assets go where you want. The benefits, or consequences, could be felt for generations to come!