Downs Law Firm, P.C.

Spendthrift trust

Do I Need a Spendthrift Trust?

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A spendthrift trust allows you to leave funds to a beneficiary without giving them full control over those funds.

If you are concerned about a family member squandering your hard-earned savings, you should set up a spendthrift trust.

Of course, you want to care for your children in your will or living trust. However, they could go through what they receive quickly if left alone. That’s when a spendthrift’s trust is valuable. This type of trust has restrictions that protect immature heirs from both themselves and potential creditors.

US News’ recent article entitled “What Is a Spendthrift Trust?” explains that a spendthrift trust lets you leave funds to a beneficiary without giving them complete control over those funds. Instead, the trustee has the authority to distribute funds as you prefer, either with set rules or discretionarily, to benefit someone who needs some time to handle an inheritance.

A spendthrift trust is created to protect a beneficiary from squandering the wealth bequeathed or left to them.

Speak with an estate attorney and talk in detail about your concerns. Ask the attorney to draft this document for you.

The attorney can write into the trust-specific rules, such as that an heir may be required to reach a certain age before they start receiving payments or that the heir receives installments at certain life stages.

If you have someone you want to leave an inheritance to, which is immature, irresponsible, or underage, you have the control and power to direct spending with a spendthrift trust.

A spendthrift trust can also try to limit access to the funds by creditors. The objective is to keep other people from accessing the funds set aside for the beneficiary.

The original trust creator’s goal is to protect their beneficiary’s assets from other people, like a creditor or even an ex-spouse.

Note that the laws regarding spendthrift trusts vary from state to state, so work with a local estate planning attorney.

The ability of a creditor to access assets in the trust will depend on state law. Every state has different rules regarding their respect for the spendthrift trust.

One of the critical tasks in setting up a successful spendthrift trust is the person named as the trustee of the funds. That person can have some discretion when distributing the funds, so it needs to be an individual you can trust over the long term. That’s why partnering with an experienced estate planning attorney who’s experienced with administering trusts is so important.

A spendthrift trust can provide that the beneficiary will eventually be able to take over control of funds if you want… at an age when they will be able to handle the assets wisely.

Reference: US News (June 28, 2022) “What Is a Spendthrift Trust?”