Spring is the season for planning. Many of us are putting together event and travel plans for the first time in a long time. It’s also the perfect time to consider long-term planning for your family. What plans do you have in place to prepare for your disability, or to take care of your family in that worst-case scenario, death?

Revocable family trusts are estate planning tools I recommend for clients often. These trusts are like fictitious containers that hold your assets, like your home. Life insurance and other payable-upon-death benefits can be routed to a family trust for distribution by a person’s choice of trustee, according to the instructions provided in the trust document.

Family trusts avoid probate proceedings for the assets they contain. An even greater benefit is the amount of control trusts can provide over how and when your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries. This makes them especially useful for families with young children. A will alone can provide for the parent’s choice of a guardian and conservator for minor children, but a family trust can do much more, including placing age restrictions and other conditions on the child’s receipt of their inheritance, while allowing distributions for education and support while they are young. Parents who are unsure that their child could responsibly handle a substantial inheritance (including potentially large life insurance benefits) at age 18 can specify a longer schedule for that child to receive one or several payments instead. Additional gifts can be conditioned upon specific educational or other achievements. Endless variations are possible.

Westbrook Law PLLC offers family trust packages for individuals and married couples that include a customized trust document, a pour-over will for each client, one or more real property deeds to place assets into the trust, powers of attorney for health care and finances, and other documents to effectuate the purposes of the trust and powers of attorney. Our document forms are updated regularly to keep pace with the ever-evolving laws surrounding estates and trusts, but also written for clarity and to eliminate confusing legalese whenever possible. Our clients leave with a strong understanding of what their documents mean and how they are best used.

We offer estate planning services that range from the simplest single will or power of attorney up to complex, multi-trust packages for special needs children, second marriages, creditor/asset protection, estate tax savings, and various other scenarios. Contact us to set up a free initial consultation.

TJW

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