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Seek flexibility when providing for struggling heirs

One of the most frustrating things for any Tennessee family to go through is when an adult child struggles to find stability. Whether an issue of drug or alcohol dependency or simply a lack of financial responsibility, parents have a hard time knowing how much to help without taking on the role of enablers. The same issue arises in regard to estate planning. Knowing how to best provide for heirs who are unable to provide for themselves can be a challenge.

Many families look at both annuities and trusts when creating this type of estate plan. An annuity is an attractive option because it ensures that the heir will have some form of stable financial support for many years to come, but the heir will be unable to access his or her full inheritance at once. That reduces the risk that an inheritance will be squandered. However, annuities are inflexible financial vehicles.

Trusts offer a greater degree of flexibility but will need to be actively managed. There are professionals who specialize in trust administration, but that service comes at a cost. Some families will ask a responsible child or family member to manage a trust on behalf of a struggling loved one. This approach allows for the flexibility to make a larger disbursement if the need should arise. However, it is a lot to ask of someone to manage a trust for another party, and that scenario can lead to tension between surviving family members.

Knowing how to best provide for heirs is not always an easy thing. Many Tennessee families find comfort in seeking the advice of a trusted estate planning professional who can guide them through the pros and cons of the available options. There are so many choices when it comes to estate planning that families can rest assured that there will be an option to fit their specific set of needs.

Source:, "Try to maintain flexibility in estate planning", Rick Bloom, Aug. 28, 2016

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