Compliments of Sterling & Tucker, LLP
By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys
We all want to do our very best to provide for our families, both during our lifetimes and after we’re gone. That is why we work hard, manage our finances carefully, and take estate planning seriously. The estate planning landscape has changed significantly in just a few years, and the opportunities are better than ever for those of us who want to leave a true legacy for our loved ones.
A generation or two ago, the best most people could do was to leave behind a good, solid Will. This allowed them to provide financially for their families and distribute their possessions in the way they saw fit.
Then, estate planning evolved to include disability planning. With disability planning, simple steps could be taken to prepare for situations like serious illness or injury. Proper planning smoothed the financial and medical transitions these situations brought on, keeping families out of court during an already stressful time in their lives.
Now, estate planning has further evolved to allow us to do even more for our loved ones. With Legacy Planning, we can go beyond allocating our financial wealth and making a disability plan. A Legacy Plan goes a step further, allowing us to pass on our true wealth – our values, wisdom, family history, and other non-financial wealth – in addition to providing long-term financial protection to those we leave behind.
With a Family Wealth Trust, you can use Legacy Planning to pass on your true wealth in the way that best suits your loved ones. When you establish a Family Wealth Trust, you select one of two levels of financial protection for your family members, depending on their needs: The Family Access Trust or the Family Sentry Trust.
The Family Access Trust keeps your children’s inheritances separate from their personal finances while allowing them full access to inherited funds. In most states, this arrangement is ideal for offering divorce protection for an adult child who is financially savvy and responsible with personal affairs. The Family Access Trust allows the use of an inheritance while ensuring that, in the event of a divorce, a former spouse does not walk away with a portion of your hard-earned nest egg.
If any of your children need a little additional help with financial management, the Family Sentry Trust might be the appropriate option. Under this arrangement, your child receives financial oversight from a third-party Trustee chosen by you. The Trustee follows your instructions in allowing your child to access Trust funds, protecting your child’s inheritance not only from divorce, but also from creditors, lawsuits, and poor financial decision-making.
If you want to leave a true legacy, a traditional estate plan is not enough. With a Family Wealth Trust, you can pass on your values, wisdom, and family heritage along with your nest egg. You can also provide your children’s inheritances with just the right amount of protection from the threats and challenges of life.
An estate planning attorney with experience in Legacy Planning can help you explore all the options for you and your family.