Parent giving a child a key to symbolize a trust

Planning for the Future- How a Trust Can Protect Your Child’s Inheritance

In most cultures and families, leaving an inheritance is a way to support future generations, offer financial stability, and potentially ease their path in life. Some families may prioritize charitable giving or other causes over providing a large inheritance. Of course, the significance of providing an inheritance for your child can vary based on individual beliefs, values, and circumstances. If protecting your child’s inheritance is something you feel is essential, you are in the right place to find help to begin planning your trust!

Ultimately, whether to provide an inheritance and its size depends on your beliefs, your financial situation, and what you think will be most beneficial for your child and your family as a whole. Only some families can afford to leave significant assets, though most estates and their children will benefit from a trust. Trusts are not just for the wealthy.  It’s often a good idea to consider discussing these matters openly with family members and seeking guidance from financial advisors or estate planning professionals to make informed decisions aligned with your values and goals.

Provide your Child with Financial Support and Security

A trust inheritance can provide a safety net, enabling your child to pursue education, buy a home, start a business, or navigate unforeseen expenses. Trusts can provide financial stability for dependents by managing and distributing assets over time. This can ensure a steady income or financial support for a dependent’s education, healthcare, or general living expenses. There are many types of trusts, and they are uniquely designed for different needs. Common trusts include revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, and special needs trusts.

Safeguarding Assets for Dependents with a Trust

Trusts can provide asset protection, ensuring that the trustor’s assets are protected from creditors, lawsuits, or mismanagement. This protection can be crucial, especially for vulnerable dependents who may not be able to manage their finances independently. Conversely, some parents worry that a substantial inheritance might hinder a child’s drive to work hard or develop their own path.

A Trust Can Keep Assets from Going through Probate

When an individual passes, the normal state of affairs requires that property in their estate goes through a court-administered probate process. Assets held in a trust can bypass the probate process, saving time and potentially reducing costs associated with the transfer of assets to dependents after the grantor’s passing. When an estate goes through probate in California, the court assesses fees based on the size of the estate. Depending on the complexity of the estate and whether or not it is being challenged, the probate process can take months or years.

During probate, there could be a new person managing assets. Trusts can ensure that someone the grantor trusts manages the assets on behalf of the dependents, ensuring continuity of care and support even after the grantor is no longer able to provide it directly.

Safe and Responsible Distribution of Assets

A well-designed trust allows trustors to specify how and when assets are distributed to their children and other beneficiaries. This control can prevent a lump sum distribution, ensuring that the investments are used responsibly and last for an extended period, benefiting the dependent over the long term. The distribution of assets to a child can vary widely based on several factors, including the size of the estate, the number of children, individual needs, and family dynamics.

Many parents opt for an equal distribution among their children to promote fairness and avoid conflicts. Sometimes, unequal distribution might be more appropriate if one child has special needs, significant financial struggles, or has provided care for the parent in their later years. Some parents consider distributions based on the contributions or sacrifices made by their children, such as caring for them in their old age, helping with family business, or offering significant financial support. If one child received more financial aid for education or career advancement, parents might consider this when distributing assets to ensure equal opportunities for the children. In other situations, parents wish to treat their children equally, and providing an inheritance might align with that intention.

Assets don’t just mean money or property. Some parents consider non-financial inheritances like family heirlooms, sentimental items, or a family business that a child might be more involved in or passionate about. Passing down assets or wealth can also be a way to preserve family values, traditions, or a legacy, ensuring that your hard-earned assets contribute positively to their lives. It’s important to communicate openly with all children about the decisions being made to minimize surprises or hurt feelings.

Special Needs Children

For children with special needs or disabilities, a trust can be structured to provide supplemental financial support without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This protects the assets and the government entitlement at the same time.

Helping you Honor your Wishes for your Children

Crafting a tailored estate plan for your children’s needs grants you peace of mind and ensures your desires are honored while distributing your estate accordingly. Our seasoned legal team will be fantastic in guiding you through this process, securing your wealth, enhancing overall welfare, directing assets to chosen heirs, and mitigating potential risks and costs. We’re here to answer queries, offer dependable legal counsel, evaluate your estate plan, and manage vital tasks to facilitate your journey.

Contact the dedicated team of attorneys at Lowthorp Richards, LLC for trusted guidance in estate planning by dialing (805) 981-8555 or completing our convenient online contact form. Our legal practitioners are deeply rooted in the California Tri-Counties region, catering to Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo.

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Cristian R. Arrieta, Lowthorp Richards McMillan Miller & Templeman, A Professional Corporation, 300 E. Esplanade Drive Suite 850, Oxnard, CA 93036