When you die, it will likely be what you leave behind for others that determines your ultimate legacy. The people who knew you the best will continue to age, and memories will fade over time. However, the support you provide through an inheritance or the emotional value of physical items can keep you in the minds of the people you love.
Many people put a lot of effort into how they plan and structure their legacy. A trust can be a worthwhile inclusion in estate plans, especially when testators have strong opinions about what impact they want the inheritance to have on the people they love.
There are several ways that a trust gives you more control over your ultimate legacy.
Trusts are harder to challenge them a last will
Perhaps one of the most common legacy issues is the interference of other individuals. If your family members feel entitled to certain property, they could challenge your estate plan on multiple grounds depending on the circumstances.
A trust will generally be harder for people to challenge, making it less likely for family members to destroy the legacy you invested so much time and effort into planning.
Trusts give you control over how and when people use their inheritance
Do you worry that a family member might waste the money you leave behind for them on a frivolous vacation or addictive tendencies? Depending on your family circumstances, a trust could help you prevent people from wasting what you leave for them.
You can limit what people use trust assets for and how much they receive at once. You can even create certain conditions they have to meet before they can receive their inheritance, like finishing college or completing alcohol rehab.
Trusts let you plan for multiple generations
A trust in your estate can persist for as long as there are still assets to fund it. Some people specifically plan their trust to persist for several generations. Others may only want to leave property for one individual and then allocate whatever is left to a charity or nonprofit that they support.
Rather than simply turning over major assets to the immediate control of your beneficiaries, a trust can give them all the benefits of those assets while still preserving them for future generations or your charitable legacy after the death of your beneficiaries.
Adding a simple trust to an estate plan can give testators long-term control over the legacy they hope to leave for others.