A thorough estate plan should include far more than just a simple Last Will and Testament. One of the most common additions to a comprehensive estate plan is a trust agreement. If you plan to pass down your estate assets to future generations, a Family Wealth Trust may be the best option. You may be thinking “ Is a Family Wealth Trust only for the rich? ” Although the name does seem to imply that, the name is deceiving. A Family Wealth Trust, or FWT, can be used by anyone, regardless of the value of your estate.
If you have worked hard all your life you undoubtedly want to protect the assets you have amassed as a result of that hard work, whether the value of those assets is $100,000 or $10 million. You likely also plan to pass them down to children or grandchildren. To do that, you must first protect and preserve those assets while you are alive so they are available to be passed down when you die. Although you can gift your estate assets outright in your Last Will and Testament, there are a number of reasons why using a FWT is a better option.
Using a FWT offers a number of additional benefits that your Will cannot provide, such as:
- Assets can pass outside of probate process, providing for more immediate distribution of assets after your death.
- Adds estate liquidity by allowing for immediate access to estate assets after your death.
- Protects, preserves, and grows assets for minors who cannot inherit directly from your estate.
- Provides for experienced and/or expert management of estate assets after your death.
- Can also be used as an incapacity tool by allowing for control of trust assets to shift automatically to a successor trustee upon your incapacity.
- Permits you to effectively maintain control over trust assets long after death through the trust terms you create.
The best way to decide if a Family Wealth Trust is right for your estate plan is to sit down with your estate planning attorney and discuss your options.
If you have additional questions or concerns about a Family Wealth Trust, or your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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