Forms of Bequests

The decision to make a bequest from a will or trust can be done in many ways:

  • Outright to the person
  • Uniform gift to minors account
  • Trust for the child until the child reaches a certain age (often 25)
  • Trust for all of your children until the youngest reaches a certain age before division into shares
  • Trust for your beneficiary with the beneficiary as the trustee subject to restrictions on how the money is spent
  • Trust for your beneficiary with a trust company managing the money and making distribution decisions based on your wishes
  • Trust for your beneficiary to be used over and above any assistance the person may be receiving from Social Security, Medicaid, or the Veterans’ Administration

I have touched on just some of the many options available to persons making bequests through their will or trust. Often the desire is to preserve the insurance money until all the children can get through college and get started in their careers. It may be to protect a success child who is a doctor or business owner from lawsuits. Parents often want to make sure their money eventually gets to their grandchildren and not to their children’s spouses or ex-spouses. Some beneficiaries need somebody to manage a large inheritance and ensure that a life’s savings is not squandered in a few short years. Other children need to remain in a government program that provides housing and services. An inheritance most likely will disqualify them from the program and getting back in the program after the money runs out is not assured. These are just some of the many choices you need to ponder when deciding how your assets will be transferred to those who love. The experience and counsel of an estate planning attorney can help you make informed decisions based on what is best for your situation.

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