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Protecting heirs from themselves and assets from heirs

Many people in New Jersey have a friend or family member that simply cannot be trusted with a dollar, let alone an inheritance. Sometimes, it is necessary to protect heirs from themselves, while protecting the assets from the heirs. This delicate balance can be tackled through estate planning.

Of course, it is not everyone's right to receive an inheritance. Any heir, other than a spouse, can be disinherited through express language in a person's will. However, if a measure that drastic is not needed or applicable, a trust may be a viable option when there is concern about an heir's ability to manage money.

The assets may be put into a trust. The trustee may be appointed to be responsible for managing the assets on behalf of the trust's beneficiary, the heir. Certain provisions may be added to the trust regarding how the money is to be spent or distributed.

For instance, if an heir has a gambling problem, the trustee may directly pay bills such as rent on behalf of the beneficiary. However, cash distributions that could be used for gambling could be allowed. In the alternative, distributions could be made if the heir proves that he or she has received sufficient help for gambling through therapy and other rehabilitative measures.

Sometimes, it just is not possible to leave assets directly to heirs. Extra protections and measures are sometimes necessary to meet the desires of the person that wants to leave an inheritance to someone unable to manage money. New Jersey estate planning documents such as trusts can be drafted and executed to give everyone involved peace of mind.

Source: nwitimes, ESTATE PLANNING: When a loved one's faults need to be recognized, Christopher W. Yugo, Nov. 26, 2013

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