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What kind of trust is best for your needs?

Colorado residents who wish to preserve their legacy for generations to come may have concerns about the financial savvy of their designated heirs when it comes to asset management over time.

Sometimes legatees mismanage funds through financial ignorance, while others squander huge fortunes leading dissolute lives. Establishing trusts is one way to protect heirs from making disastrous financial decisions or from living idle, wasted lives.

Establishing trusts with spendthrift clauses is a good way to protect a lifetime of hard-earned fortune from wastrels and gold-digging spouses and exes. It also protects the trust from being wiped out by creditors should the beneficiaries go bankrupt or become heavily indebted.

Another kind of trust is a milestone trust. This can prevent an over-dependence on the trust. You set up the trust to make payouts to beneficiaries only when certain goals are met. The goals can be related to age or certain milestones, such as graduating from college, working steadily at a job, getting married or having their first child.

The trusts can also cover only certain expenses, such as school tuition or medical bills, or give heirs a small living stipend to ensure they will still lead productive lives working real jobs.

Some trusts contain discretionary clauses which leaves the decision to make payouts up to the trustee. If you have complete faith in your trustee's discretion and he or she fully knows your wishes, this might be an option. But it opens up the possibility of pitting the trustee as adversary against beneficiaries. If they are related, this can rend the fabric of a family. A corporate trustee may not have enough knowledge of your legatees' needs to meet them adequately according to your wishes.

Trusts with escape clauses built in can be useful should beneficiaries become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Even those going through particularly acrimonious divorces with greedy exes, those insolvent due to bankruptcies or defendants in litigation can be protected by a discretionary escape clause, which can be set up to override other terms of the trust. The trustee simply withholds payments when it is in the best interest of the beneficiaries to do so at the time.

Your Colorado estate planning attorney can provide valuable advice regarding the best kind of trust to fit your needs.

Source: Investing Daily, "Using Protection Trusts to Help Heirs" Bob Carlson, Apr. 04, 2014

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