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Protecting heirs from themselves: Tips for parents

No Tennessee parent wants to consider what would happen if they should pass away while their children are still young. However, it is impossible to know the timing of our own death, and parents also have a strong urge to provide support and protection for their children. When considering estate planning for young heirs, it is important to build in a means of protecting kids from the mistakes common to most young people.

Very few of us will attain an advanced level of reason and rationality by the age of 18. However, without the proper level of estate planning, many kids will receive a significant inheritance upon reaching this milestone birthday. The end result could be the loss of that inheritance, as well as a failure to finish college or make other important life decisions. One of the best ways to safeguard against such a negative outcome is to pass down wealth in the form of a trust.

Parents can structure a revocable trust in any manner they choose. For example, the trust could dictate that a child will receive disbursements only when certain milestones have been passed, such as completing each year of college, purchasing a home or even the birth of a their own children. This approach will spread out an inheritance over the course of many years, giving adult children the ability to improve their decision-making skills over time.

Best of all, by using a revocable trust, it is possible to make changes as needed. When the last child has passed the age of 18, the trust can be completely restructured, and new provisions can be put into place. Trusts provide a very flexible means of passing down wealth to one's heirs and is a tool that many Tennessee families will put to good use within their overall estate planning approach.

Source: thespectrum.com, "Estate planning important when children, grandchildren are involved", Scott Halvorsen, Sept. 27, 2015

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