Five Cool Things Your Trust Can Do That You Might Not Know About But Probably Should | Estate Plan Pros
Trusts are like violins – in the right hands they can do amazing things. Your trust can set goals for your beneficiaries and provide protection from themselves and others. You can take care of your pets. And you can plan long term to keep your estate in the family.

Set Goals

Parents want to see their children become productive and contributing members of society. They don’t want their hard earned resources to be an excuse for their children not to work. Goals for children can be as simple as accelerating the inheritance when a child gets their bachelors or graduate degree. More complex goals can be long term goals, such as maintaining a debt free lifestyle, or rewarding hard work and saving. A child’s inheritance is a large carrot that can be used as a powerful incentive.

Protect Beneficiaries from Themselves

Some children have disabilities like downs syndrome or autism that limit their ability to handle finances. Other children may have destructive addictions to drugs, alcohol or gambling. For these situations we would set up an independent trustee to manage the inheritance for the benefit of the child, allowing the money to be used for their benefit.

Protect Beneficiaries from Others

Even if your children are all successful and responsible adults, there is still a lot of financial risk. Driving down the street exposes you to lawsuit liability. What if their insurance is insufficient? All of their personal assets, including any money they inherited from you is at risk. Our unique Personal Asset Trust for beneficiaries provides added protection against lawsuits, creditors and even divorcing spouses. Read more about our Personal Asset Trust here.

Provide for Pets

Some animals, like parrots or tortoises for example, have lifespans of 100 and 150 years of age respectively. Even for pets like dogs, cats, and horses, you’ll want to think about who should take care of them, and how they should be provided for. In some situations, you’ll want to think about a system of accountability for the person taking care of your pet and the resources you’ve designated for the pets benefit.

Keep your Estate in the Family

In today’s world of blended families, the default rules of where inheritance goes could easily have your hard earned money being left to your child’s spouse and their children – leaving the rest of your family out of the picture. Careful planning can ensure that your estate is preserved for your grandchildren, and in some cases even your great-grandchildren.

BONUS: Prevent future family squabbles

Another real benefit to a well-planned estate is preventing family arguments before they even start. The true value your family has is in their relationships with each other. We’ve all heard the horror stories of children fighting after their parents are gone. Sometimes all it takes to prevent such disaster is communication by the parents of what they want. Often the question children are asking themselves, and disagreeing about is – what would mom and dad have wanted? When you plan ahead, you answer that question.

Tags:Asset Protection Blended Family Children Pets Special Needs

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Erik Hartstrom

Erik is the founder of Estate Plan Pros, a leading estate planning practice in Elk Grove.  Erik’s practice focuses on Estate Planning Law. In Estate Planning, Erik works with clients to make the process simple, so clients can focus on more important things. He is a local authority for specialized estate planning instruments, like Special Needs Trust, Irrevocable Trusts, or other focused documents. Erik has litigated, negotiated, and mediated the gamut of family law cases. With this unique perspective as a family law and estate attorney he can often spot issues otherwise overlooked. Prior to graduating he worked as a legislative analyst for a non-profit organization, and volunteered as a youth counselor. Erik currently participates in local politics and is an active member of his local church. Erik is very happily married and has two young sons. Together, his family loves to get outdoors and enjoy the varied activities the Sacramento region has to offer.


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