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.
There are a number of hard questions when it comes to planning for your estate and for your heirs. Naturally, there is the question of what to give to whom. Another question, of perhaps equal if not greater importance, is how your heirs should inherit their inheritance.
Money is both the root of all evil and yet a most helpful tool when it comes to achieving life goals. Consequently, consider ensuring that your beneficiaries get enough to help them with their dreams, but not so much they miss out on learning how to work for those dreams on their own.
This often requires that you take great care when structuring the inheritance distribution portion of your estate plan. According to a recent Reuters article titled "More heirs wait as wills dole out money slowly," more families are structuring their estates as the title suggests.
The tool of choice, now as ever, is a trust fund. Indeed, trust funds have been used to keep assets safe for a younger beneficiary, but that historically meant until their legal maturity at age 18. More recently, however, with social changes as they are, trusts are being created to age 30 or beyond. Some trusts are rather specific in their terms, too. For example, trusts terms may specifically provide for college expenses, the first house, the first child, and other life milestones.
So, are plans that keep the whole distribution process at a low, slow boil the way to go?
They are not without their disadvantages, especially for those who do not want to "rule from the grave" or those who resent being "ruled from the grave."
In the end, every family and every generation is different. Ask yourself: which strategy is most appropriate for your heirs, assets, and plans? It's an important angle to review.