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Controlling the flow of funds your California heirs receive

The age of maturity isn't the same for all individuals and can differ by years from the age of majority or legal adulthood. Los Angeles parents who plan to leave their children a substantial inheritance often worry how assets will be handled once the children get them.

Estate planning allows parents to have control over the way children receive inheritances. Without a plan in place, a lot of money can be placed in a young spendthrift's hands and evaporate rapidly. Fortunately, wills and trusts can be created to keep heirs from wasting the wealth you worked so hard to build.

California parents are often concerned heirs will not use estate assets responsibly or will become dependent on an inheritance without pursuing a career. Estate planning documents can hold inheritances in reserve, until an adult child reaches a particular age like 25, 30 or even older. The entire inheritance can be released at a given age or the funds can be staggered.

A parent may allow a trustee to supply an heir with additional funds under certain circumstances. A health crisis, higher education, marriage, the birth of a child and divorce are big life events that might qualify.

At the same time, a provision may be written in to the document that withholds funds from an adult child. A trustee can be given the power to refuse payments if the heir displays reckless behaviors like drug addiction or unchecked spending. This flexible plan eliminates the need for parents to guess or assume a child's age of maturity.

A third-party trustee may not have the ability to monitor an heir's good and bad habits. A relative may be more suited to the role of a trustee for an immature heir.

Parental concerns over the fate of inheritances are not uncommon. An attorney can present options designed for estate plans that allow you to retain control over asset distribution.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Consitution, "Wes Moss: Make Your Estate a Blessing, Not a Curse" Wes Moss, Dec. 30, 2013

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