Estate plans are “living documents”—meant to be updated as our lives change. Maybe children or grandchildren have come into the picture? Perhaps you or a loved one are declining incapacity? Trusts, arranged to distribute funds incrementally over time, can come in handy in these circumstances.
Chef Anthony Bourdain’s Trust
An example of how trusts can be established to distribute funds at designated intervals is Ariane Bourdain. She was only eleven in 2018 when her father, world-renowned celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, died. He had, however, previously set up a trust for his daughter. According to Grunge: Since Ariane was a minor when Bourdain died, a guardian was tasked to ensure that her inheritance was properly handled until she came of age… Ariane will be given money from the trust on her 25th birthday, and then again when she turns 30 years old. At 35 years old, she will have access to the remainder of the amount in the trust.
Review Your Trust Provisions
Legal experts suggest reviewing your estate plan, including any trusts you have established every couple of years—sooner if you experience significant life changes. When examining a trust with your lawyer, important considerations include:
- Whether your plan effectively distributes your assets according to your wishes.
- Distribution provisions for your spouse.
- Distribution provisions for your children. Should assets pass outright to your children or stay in trust for a longer period of time?
- If you decide on a continuing trust for a child, consider whether distributions should be staggered over time or whether the trust should be drafted to protect family assets from your children’s future creditors, including a divorcing spouse.
- Whether you want to include a trust for your grandchildren in your estate plan.
- Whether you need to incorporate special needs trust provisions for a disabled beneficiary to preserve the beneficiary’s eligibility for public benefits.
While in many circumstances, an essential last will and testament will go a long way toward leaving our affairs in order for loved ones, trusts are necessary when periodic distributions are the goal. For example, if you have a loved one with special needs, setting up a trust can be an especially important way to plan ahead for their well-being. Trusts can also be established to arm your family or friends with resources to care for you if you become incapacitated. You can learn more about different types of trusts—and their uses here.
Note that when working with a lawyer to establish a trust, you will designate a trustee to administer it. Trustee bonds are frequently advised as a good way to safeguard the interests of beneficiaries. Essentially, a trustee bond is a type of fiduciary bond that guarantees that the trust will be administered in accordance with the law. It is quick and easy to obtain a trustee bond from a leading national provider: Colonial Surety Company. Just get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond instantly—from anywhere. It is so simple you can do it now: Trustee Bond Here.
Good To Do!
Whether you choose a will or trust, it’s a good idea to work with your lawyer on the “ancillary documents” that are important for all of us—and our families—to have in place. Tucker Allen Estate and Elder Law explain these essentials: One document is a durable power of attorney. This document creates an agent — the person chosen by the principal — who can take over financial matters should the principal, the person who is creating the durable power of attorney, become incapacitated or incompetent. This is an extremely useful document and negates the need to ever have a guardian or conservator. A healthcare power of attorney should also be included in any estate plan. This document creates an agent who can make healthcare decisions for the principal should they ever become incapacitated or incompetent. Finally, every estate plan should include a living will. This document is sometimes called a healthcare directive. This document specifies what healthcare actions should be taken if someone can no longer make decisions for themselves due to incapacity or incompetence.
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