What is the right amount of money to leave adult children? This is an important question for families who have had the good luck to accumulate more money then necessary for a satisfying and purposeful life. Establishing a trust can provide the structure needed to make a difference to the next generation—and protect assets from poor choice-making.
$500,000 Sounds Good…
Experts at Kiplinger point out that while $500,000 sounds like a nice chunk of cash to leave an adult child, it can disappear quickly, leaving those lucky enough to inherit it without the intended cushion against life’s ups and downs. On the other hand, many families do not want children to inherit so much that they remain dependent and fail to make their own way in the world. Then too, some families believe charitable giving is an important legacy—creating a spiral of good beyond their immediate circle. When it comes to figuring out how much to leave adult children when much is possible, Kiplinger offers this guidance:
If a parent’s concern is that they will harm their child by leaving them too much money, they need to determine what dollar amount will cause that harm. The answer depends on what they want their children to achieve with the money. Then consider the what-ifs. For example, assume a parent wants to leave their child $500,000.What if the adult child has a health crisis or they have a baby with a disability, incurring significant costs to the adult child and/or preventing them from being able to work? What if the market sinks and the $500,000 becomes $250,000? What if despite working hard, they or their employer are put out of business by a competitor, regulations or shifts in consumer taste?
Because trusts allow for disbursements over time, they can be a very useful tool in estate planning—and can be arranged to support different goals of the settlor (person establishing the trust). Trusts can help us set aside funds for our own potential needs as we age, make payments over time to designated beneficiaries, including minors and those with special needs, and even ensure assets get to beneficiaries more quickly, and with greater confidentiality, than the probate process generally enables. As estate planning experts observe, trusts might be an important consideration for adult children too, especially when the goal is to ensure assets come with some controls, as experts explain:
Parents can put controls on the wealth they leave their adult children by using trusts. Parents can choose a trustee to manage the trust so the kids don’t have full access or control. The trust can help them get an education, buy a place to live and start a business, but they can’t just live off the trust and sit around doing nothing. These controls can be different for each child. If parents know one child won’t lose their drive no matter how much money they have but another child will spend it all in a week, the children can be given different, access, controls and rights over their trusts. These differences could cause conflict in the family, so parents need to keep an open line of communication with their children to explain their concerns and why they set the trusts up the way they did.
Trustees and Trustee Bonds?
Among the important considerations when creating a trust is the designation of a trustee to administer the assets in accordance with the plans specified in the trust agreement. It is possible to name oneself as a trustee, along with a successor trustee. It is common, though not a rule, for families to designate a loved one or friend to serve as trustee. An independent fiduciary is also an option. Keep in mind that the trustee role is not a ceremonial one. Trustees are fiduciaries: they are legally bound to the highest duty of care in executing their responsibilities. In fact, given the significant duties undertaken by trustees, the trust agreement may require procurement of a trustee bond.
A trustee bond is a type of fiduciary bond that protects the interests of the trust and beneficiaries by guaranteeing the faithful performance of a trustee in accordance with the law. As a leading national provider of many types of fiduciary bonds, Colonial Surety makes it easy and efficient to obtain a trustee bond. Just get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. The bond can be printed or e-filed from anywhere. Trustee Bonds Here
Wanting or Needing?
Estate planning experts say it is frequently heartbreaking to witness the sacrifices older people make to hang onto family treasures under the assumption that the next generation wants them. An important aspect of estate planning is honest communication about what is really wanted, needed and desirable. Avoid the mistake of assuming “the kids” will figure out what to do with the family home. Estate law experts can be especially helpful when it comes to reviewing options and making decisions about the family home–afterall, it is the most valuable asset many families have to leverage for the next generation. Estate planning experts can also assist families to establish charitable trusts–an important way to designate assets to non profit organizations, enabling families to redistribute wealth toward equity and social good.
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