In creating an estate plan for a sizable estate that will eventually be left to one’s children, people frequently make use of trusts that enable them to control the distribution of the estate after one’s death. This is frequently done to ensure that children are old enough and responsible enough to manage the assets received. For a trust to be carried out successfully in California, close attention should be paid to the trust administration.
Questions posed by the trust beneficiaries frequently involve what assets are being distributed and when they will be distributed. The plan may specify that a portion of an heir’s trust is to be distributed at the age of 30 with the balance coming at the age of 40. In the case of multiple children, the value of the estate may be equally split but not dispersed at the same time as the children are of different ages.
Other feature of a trust may contain conditions that must be met before a distribution can be made. For example, distribution to someone with addiction may be limited to funds to pay for treatment, and this would be controlled by the trustee. The more detailed the instructions in the trust, the better. Ambiguous instructions can cause the trustee or the beneficiary to have to petition the court for clarification, and that can become expensive.
Trusts can be an excellent tool for controlling bequests after one is gone. Detailed instructions regarding trust administration are crucial to ensure that one’s final wishes are carried out as intended. Reviewing the plan with an experienced estate planning attorney in California can provide peace of mind that one’s wishes are in good hands and that contingencies have been covered.