Child receives inheritance outright (with no restrictions). This is the simplest option.
Option #2: Outright distribution at a specified age
Child receives inheritance outright, but it is held subject to restrictions until Child has attained a specified age. For example, Child must attain age 30 to receive outright inheritance.
Option #3: Held in Trust, but principal distributed in stages by age
Child's inheritance is held in a protected trust, then distributed in stages depending on age. For example, Child receives 1/3 of trust principal at age 25, 1/2 of remaining balance at age 30, and all of the trust at age 35. Depending on terms of document, the trustee may distribute funds as needed at any time.
Option #4: Held in Trust, but principal distributed in stages by time
Child's inheritance is held in protected trust, then distributed in stages based on time after Parent's death. For example, Child receives 1/3 of trust principal upon death of Parent, 1/2 of remaining balance 5 years later, and all of the trust 10 years later. Depending on terms of document, the trustee may distribute funds as needed at any time.
If there are multiple children, this option differs from Option #3 because distributions of principal are made to all children at the same time rather than staggered by age differences.
Option #5: Held in Trust for lifetime of Child with independent trustee
Child's inheritance is held in protected trust until all the assets are distributed or Child dies. Depending on terms of document, the independent trustee may distribute funds as needed at any time. For example, Wells Fargo serves as trustee. Under this option, the trust assets achieve a considerable level of creditor protection. The separate property nature of the trust assets is maintained even if the beneficiary married (and divorces). Parent can also direct the distribution upon Child's death, or restrict the options Child would otherwise have.
Option #6: Held in Trust for lifetime of Child with Child as trustee
Child's inheritance is held in protected trust until all the assets are distributed or Child dies. However, Child serves as trustee and has full control of trust assets at all times. This option maintains the separate property nature of the trust assets upon marriage or divorce of Child. The trust may be treated as estate tax exempt and thus work well as a dynasty trust.
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