Congratulations if you have recently made or reviewed your Will...you join a select percentage of the adult population...but making a Will is only the first step in planning your legacy and giving peace of mind to your loved ones.
In summary a Will is a legal document that sets out instructions on what happens when you pass away and how your assets are distributed. Without a Will, the law of intestacy would apply and all control is lost.
So how do you further protect a legacy? As a Will is simply a set of instructions which is activated at the time of death regardless of any external circumstances.
For example, a father passed away, he had made a Will and wished for his assets to be split evenly between his 2 children. At the time of his passing, one child was going through a divorce and the other unfortunately had a substance adiction. In line with the Will, the fathers assets will pass directly to the children, so in the case of the child going through a divorce, his fathers inheritance now forms part of his estate and is subject to financial settlement...therefore the asset could be lost to the former spouse. Equally the child with the substance addiction, would receive their inheritance in full which may not be in their best interest.
However, there is a mechanism that can protect the inheritance and would allow the children to benefit from their fathers estate.
The mechanism is a trust. Trusts date back to the crusades, some 800 years ago and basically assets are held in trust until needed. Often thought as only available for the wealthy and powerful but are becoming more known and are available to everyone if their circumstances suit.
A trust gives the estate time to allocate the assets, a trust last 125 years. So back to our earlier example, the child going the divorce, as they haven’t inherited his share of his fathers estate ( as it is protected by the trust) it is not included in any financial settlement, the same applies to other financial threat. In the case of the other child, as a substance addict it may be never in their interest to inherit...but through the Trust the inheritance could pass down to their children.
A Trust can also be used to protect vulnerable adults as the Trust is controlled by trustee’s and trust law.
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