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Trusts may be the perfect way to protect inheritances

Life is unpredictable for most people in New York, and planning for the future and the distribution of one's assets after death can be a daunting task. Fortunately, estate planning that includes trusts can be modified to suit changing circumstances over time. An example is a woman who married a man with a child from a previous marriage and then divorced within one year. However, she developed a bond with the child and would like to leave him an inheritance.

How can she do that, but ensure that the child's father does not have access to the inheritance? This is where the benefits of trusts come in. The woman can create a trust for the child, and specify at what age the child should get the money, and how he would get it. If she states that the boy should receive the money when he turns 25 years old, the funds will remain in the trust until that time, under a trustee's management who will also ensure the terms of the trust are upheld.

A trustee can be any person the woman finds trustworthy in that capacity, and the ex-husband need not have anything to do with the money left to his son in the trust. A trust provides the flexibility that will allow the woman to make whatever changes she chooses while she is still alive. For instance, she may want to add conditions to the date of payment like the boy having to graduate from college to be eligible for the inheritance. Upon her death, the trust will become irrevocable, and executable by the successor trustee.

New York residents who have questions about wills and trusts can consult an experienced estate planning attorney. After assessing the client's circumstances, and becoming familiar with his or her family dynamics, the lawyer can explain the options and suggest the most appropriate way to proceed. As time goes by, the same attorney can assist with the annual or biannual review to ensure life's changes are reflected in the estate plans.

Source: hometownlife.com, "Trusts give you control of your money after death", Rick Bloom, Dec. 30, 2017

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