Protecting Your Family's Inheritance: Beneficiary-Controlled Trusts

Protecting Your Family's InheritanceBy Toma Franklin, Staff Writer

In a perfect world, your will would be drawn up, your assets would be distributed in a timely, no-hassle fashion after your death, and your family would be immediately able to enjoy the financial legacy that you spent your life creating for them. Unfortunately, no one lives in a perfect world, but a beneficiary-controlled trust can help ensure that your children will have access to their inheritance in a way that is faster, and is legally protected longer-than some of the more traditional methods. A Beneficiary trust is long-term many states allow this type of trust to remain in perpetuities for at least a century, if not longer. A Beneficiary trust also maintains a structure that protects assets from creditors, false-heirs, ex-spouses, and any other potential beneficiaries and parties not named by the trust.

The Beneficiary-Controlled Trust: Advantages That You (and your beneficiaries) Can Use

  • Trustee Powers:

    Your primary beneficiary, as opposed to a bank or other financial institution, is named as the trustee of your assets and has the majority of control over their dispersal and use. With a Beneficiary-Controlled Trust, you may also elect to name a co-trustee, who will have some control (but less than the primary trustee) over your assets and property.

  • Income and Principal Distribution:

    With a Beneficiary-Controlled Trust, you are able to give the beneficiary all rights to your assets as an income, but without distribution, since this would essentially defeat the purpose of the trust and its protection purpose. If your beneficiary does not require an additional income, you may elect to keep your assets outside their taxable estate and still within the protection of the trust.

  • Investment Flexibility:

    With a Beneficiary-Controlled Trust, you also have the option of investing your funds into assets that your beneficiaries will be able to use, such as homes, businesses, jewelry, stocks, bonds, etc.

A Beneficiary-Controlled Trust: Knowing all of Your Options

While a Beneficiary-Controlled Trust can avoid many of the hassles and legal stumbling blocks commonly associated with property and asset inheritance and transfer, only your attorney and personal certified financial planning advisor can determine whether this is option is right for you. Be sure to discuss this, and any other issues or concerns that you may have concerning your financial and estate planning, at your next appointment. .