Easy Trust Mistakes to Avoid When Passing Assets to Your Child

Common Trust Mistakes

Setting up a trust fund for your children can ensure that the money you leave behind for them is taken care of for them, in the way that you want. But your efforts in completing this important, yet somber task can be ruined by making one of these common trust mistakes.

Leaving Assets Outright to Kids

One of the worst trust mistakes you can do is to do nothing. If whatever you are leaving behind will go to your children outright, unprotected and directly to them when they turn 18, then it means that a Court will decide who handles the assets for them (and whoever is named as their guardian) before they turn 18. And, it’s very likely that those assets will not be used in the way you want. On top of that, if a professional Trustee is appointed, the costs of handling the assets could drain what’s left for your kids, quickly.

Not Carefully Choosing a Trustee

Even parents who do the right thing and set up a trust to hold what’s being left behind for their kids sometimes do not think carefully enough about who the Trustee should be taking care of the assets. Do you want one trustee or a co-trustee who can ensure the funds are well managed? Choosing more than one can provide some accountability for how the funds are used.

Not Properly Protecting Assets Left In Trust

Another of trust mistakes is when parents set up a trust that is distributing the assets out of the trust directly to their children at specific ages or stages, instead of holding those assets in a flexible lifetime trust that will protect their kids’ inheritance from future divorces, creditors or accidental lawsuits.

Unfortunately, most lawyers do not understand how to use trusts to establish this kind of vital protection for the inheritance you are leaving behind. And they may even suggest to you that it’s not necessary, if you have a smaller estate. I believe that even when you are leaving behind a small amount of assets, protecting those assets and teaching your children how to grow them (instead of squander them) can be the seed of a huge turning point for many generations to come. It would be my honor to share more about this with you during a Family Wealth Planning Session.

Neglecting to Fix Beneficiary Designations

Lastly, make sure your insurance policies are directed to your trust and not directly to your children. This is one of the huge trust mistakes we repeatedly see. Naming minors or even young adults as the beneficiaries of insurance and retirement accounts is a sure-fire way to ensure they are not used in the way you want and unnecessarily get stuck in a court process, which you can easily avoid.

A trust can both provide for and protect your children after your death, as well as care for you the way you want in the event of your incapacity. If you’re ready to set up an effective plan for your family’s well-being and care, start by sitting down with us.  As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we’ll help you protect, preserve and enhance what matters most.

Contact us now to learn more

This article is a service of Joel A. Norris, Esq. , Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session ™and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.