Do the new Estate Tax Laws help create more options to protect our loved ones...or were the options already there?

Another great article from the NY Times here .

I think that the most important factor to remember when doing estate planning regardless of how much money or property you have is that proper estate planning has a lot more to do with people than stuff.

This article puts a lot of focus on the fact that you can give your hard-earned life savings, or the wealth that you have amassed (however you want to look at it) to your children, but just giving it to them won't achieve the larger goal of protecting them.

I have found that most folks have a real desire to protect their children even if those children are self-sufficient, responsible, etc. Why? When I ask people, the number one response I receive is that they can't control the influence of other people on their children. For some, it is the concern that their very entrepreneurial child will get into a bad business deal. For many, it is the son or daughter-in-law that can't be trusted. Still others just feel that large sums of money may alter the behavior of a very responsible adult child, because they are receiving it too quickly.

Regardless of the reason, and how much money or property a person is leaving their children, there are options for protecting your children. In particular, planning with a Trust can be a very effective way to leave your children money. You can create Trusts that will distribute money to the children when needed for education, medical needs or general support. As the article suggests, you can create Trusts that distribute money based on incentives and achievement of certain goals. You can create Trusts that will distribute on different birthdays (although I caution you to think about what you are accomplishing by distributing on one birthday versus another). If your concern is protecting children from others who try to take the money, there are special asset protection Trusts that can help accomplish this goal.

The point here is that so long as you have a properly drafted Trust, you can truly protect your children both from themselves and others. The Estate Tax laws seem to be changing constantly, but regardless of what happens with the Estate Tax next, there are options to help you protect your loved ones. If you want to learn more about Trusts, feel free to browse the rest of our website.