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An incentive trust helps guide heirs toward success

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2019 | Uncategorized

One of the big fears that you have with your estate planning is that leaving money to your heirs is going to rob them of the motivation they need to find success in life.

You’re very well off, after all, thanks to a lifetime of hard work and smart financial decisions. You’re going to leave enough money to your grandchildren that they could live off of it for the rest of their lives.

While you’re proud to leave them that type of financial security — you know how much it means in life — you also don’t want them to throw aside a promising future. You worry that they won’t go to college, won’t pursue their passions, won’t start businesses and won’t begin productive careers. They’ll just take the money and do nothing with their lives because they don’t have to.

That’s not at all the outcome that you want, but what can you do? One option is to leave the money in an incentive trust.

What it does

This type of trust allows you to set goals for your heirs. When they accomplish them, they get the money allotted for that goal. Thus, it operates as an incentive for them.

For instance, maybe you want your grandchildren to get at least undergraduate college degrees. You can put money for them into the trust, but the rules for the trust can say that they don’t get that money until they get a degree. They know it’s there, but they can’t just ignore their college education and take it. If they don’t go to school, they give up the money in the trust.

Other common goals include starting a business, avoiding legal trouble, getting a post-graduate degree, producing art and other things that are legally permissible.

Is it perfect?

Is this the ideal solution? It may be, but you will find that there are drawbacks.

One common issue is that all heirs are not the same. They don’t have the same goals, abilities and opportunities. Do you want to hold them to the same standards?

For instance, what if one heir is very driven to start their own business? They’re brilliant and accomplished, but they have a chance to drop out of school and start the company at 20 years old. Should they have to give up the inheritance to do it?

Similar complications include an heir who leaves school to take care of a sick relative, an heir who has a learning disability or an heir who suffers physical or mental injuries in an accident.

Getting started

Fortunately, your trust can address all of these issues. You just need to carefully consider them up front and create the perfect estate plan for your family in Georgia.