When a simple will isn't enough

Some younger adults in Georgia like to keep things simple, even when it comes to estate planning. They often believe a basic will is all they need to determine who gets what after they pass. But when children come into the picture, younger adults are often encouraged to consider exploring their options with trusts.

A simple will can make sense if a young couple is just married and their assets are under the estate tax threshold. However, a trust tends to be a more beneficial and flexible tool when children come along. Part of the reason for this common piece of advice is that a will allows children to inherit when they turn 18. Unfortunately, there are plenty of tales of grown kids blowing through an inheritance fairly quickly or bidding their time until they inherit.

A trust, however, can be set up in a way that controls how assets are dished out. A trustee is also named to handle distributions. This person can work with children to establish an appropriate income flow while still preserving the trust principal. Additionally, certain mechanisms can be built into a trust to "reward" adult children as they become more financially responsible. One option is to allow for the possibility of a beneficiary to become a co-trustee if they can effectively manage their payouts. If this isn't the case, the money can always be held in a trust for the adult child's lifetime.

An estate planning attorney typically offers suggestions based on available assets and helps plan for how those funds will be allocated in the future. Even if a simple will is all that's needed during the early stages of adult life, a lawyer can always set up a trust in the future when circumstances and available assets change. Beneficiary designations can also be altered to reflect changes to the family structure.

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