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  • Writer's pictureKara Verby

Family Trusts

Updated: Apr 12

Family Trusts are set up for the benefit of the spouse and the grantors' children, or in some cases, only the children. For estate planning purposes, the family trust is generally used to soak up the unified credit and move assets to a lower generation. Most family trusts provide that the surviving spouse is the trustee and may use income for himself/herself and the children until his/her death. At his/her death the income is used for the children until the age of distribution is met. For example many people distribute assets when their children reach an age of 25 or 30 years old. Up until distribution, the assets are used mainly for the "health, education, support and maintenance" of the beneficiaries. This is a legal term of art, which basically means in accordance with the custom and lifestyle that the grantor has and would have provided. This type of trust is beneficial for those parties who may have younger children who would not yet be able to manage assets received from an outright bequest. It is also beneficial if the grantor wishes to protect any inheritance from a child's creditors or spouse in the future. Using "spendthrift" provisions also keeps the assets from being available to creditors.

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