As people grow older and go through major life events, these changes can often bring the thought of estate planning to the forefront. By creating a plan for what will happen with one's assets and property after death, a person can help to avoid excessive costs and pain to their family members and other loved ones as well as avoiding expensive probate fees after the fact.
Many people considering the next steps in their estate planning process automatically think of different provisions for gifts made to minor children and bequests to children and other beneficiaries who are already adults. When gifts are made to minors as part of a will, it is common to set up trusts in order to provide professional, knowledgeable management for the funds and protect the gift for the benefit of the minor until they reach a specified age. However, people may be more hesitant to use similar trusts when gifting to adults, despite the fact that trusts can help to protect the intent of the giver.
By leaving assets in a trust to an adult child, the person making their estate plan can be assured that the property will be well-managed and that the results will benefit their child. They can also set terms for the distribution of the trust; in some cases, the trust could distribute only investment income for a significant period of time, while in others, the trust can immediately begin to disburse portions of the principal on an annualized basis.
Trusts can be helpful in an array of circumstances, from dealing with divorce to helping protect assets from children's creditors. An estate planning lawyer may be able to work with a person thinking about the future to draw up the necessary documents and make a comprehensive plan for their property that helps to make their vision a reality while avoiding excessive costs or wastage.