An individual’s unique life experiences inevitably influence what they wish to achieve with their estate plans. For many adults, the top priority will be providing resources for children. For others, a dependent spouse will be a main source of concern and a focal point during the estate planning process.
There are also those who will need to provide resources both for a spouse and for their children. Sometimes, especially when someone with children remarries, there can be conflicting interests regarding inheritance rights. Some people may want to allow their spouse to live in a marital home without actually giving them control over it.
Others may want to offer similar arrangements for their children. They may have a child with special needs, for example, who they desire to live in the family home but who couldn’t maintain it without support. How would someone accomplish such goals?
A trust can help manage what happens with specific assets
Typically, estate planning involves naming specific assets with significant value and then choosing a beneficiary to receive those assets when someone dies. However, there are scenarios in which a testator would like to have more than one party benefit from a particular asset.
Real property is a prime example. It may be the most valuable resource they have and therefore the only real inheritance for their children. However, that home could also be where their spouse expects to live for the rest of their life. A trust can allow people to have access to certain assets without gaining total control over them.
Testators can provide instructions for the use and maintenance of assets without granting a specific person ownership rights. After granting specific people the full use of an asset, the trust can eventually transfer those resources to the ultimate beneficiary.
Complicated family circumstances demand careful estate planning
Those with unique family situations or unusual financial resources may have to get creative when arranging to pass property to the next generation when they die. Particularly in cases where a testator wants to provide shelter and support without giving someone control over a piece of real property, a trust can be a useful inclusion in their estate plan.
Creating a trust after thinking carefully about one’s estate planning needs can be an important step for those hoping to leave a meaningful legacy for various people.