You have finally gotten around to focusing on your estate planning and have taken that first step by contacting an estate planning lawyer. Now you have to decide who gets what (or does not get) upon your demise. These are difficult decisions and are often complicated by the fact that you may not wish to leave your hard-earned assets to someone who may not be responsible with money or has different values than you. If you leave money to this person outright, they are free to do with it as they please. One possible solution might be a trust.
There are many different types of trusts (several of which we have discussed previously in this column) and one size does not fit all. This is definitely not a form you want to download from the internet and plug into your estate plan. Your particular trust must be drafted with specific provisions designed to meet your (and the beneficiary’s) needs. The only way to accomplish this is to have an in-depth discussion with your estate planning attorney to make sure he/she knows what your objectives are. Being able to tailor the trust to meet your particular needs is one of the primary benefits of utilizing a trust instead of leaving money outright to someone.