Your will is an excellent tool for specifying who you would like to inherit each of your assets. However, the issue of when your heirs will take possession of the resources that you have left for them is also a critical thing to consider. When you pass away, some of your heirs will be older than others. For example, if you’re married, your spouse is older than your children. Also, you may have nieces, nephews, and grandchildren to whom you would like to give gifts at the end of your life. Your children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren may not be adults at the time of your death. For this reason, you may want to consider using one or more trusts to ensure that the timing of the distribution of your gifts goes as you want it to.
It’s likely that you will want your husband or wife to be able to access his or her inheritance as soon as possible after you pass away, for both emotional and practical reasons like ensuring that they will be able to pay bills, funeral expenses, and the like. Making your wife or husband the beneficiary on your life insurance policy and making bequests to them in your estate planning documents will enable them to access what you have given them within a reasonable time after you pass away.
You may not want to leave bequests in your will for your children or other relatives who are young, or whom you think may have difficulty managing a large sum of money all at once. Consider using one or more trusts to leave gifts to those heirs. Trusts are a great tool for managing the timing of the disbursement of the resources that have been placed in them. With a trust, you can set conditions on when beneficiaries receive their gifts. You can even describe a schedule where beneficiaries receive a certain amount at one age, another amount a few years later, and so on.
Wisdom and discretion are essential when setting up a trust. Sometimes it is necessary to restrict what beneficiaries can do with the money they will receive, such as situations involving substance abuse, gambling, or other addictions. It is a good idea to avoid putting restrictive conditions on distributions unless it is absolutely essential. Too many parents have used conditional distribution schemes in their trusts to express their feelings of distrust towards their children. This begs the question of whether a gift given conditionally and with an attitude of condemnation is really a gift at all.
If you would like to add a trust to your estate plan, it is essential that you work with a Kansas estate planning attorney. A seasoned estate planning attorney can guide you in developing an estate plan that will help you accomplish all of your estate planning goals. You can arrange an initial consultation with Wichita attorney J. Joseph Weber by calling our office today, at (316) 265-7802, or by contacting us through our website.