When you are creating an estate plan in Illinois, you may want to leave money for your children. However, you may also want to safeguard that inheritance in case your child gets a divorce. A trust can also be useful if your child is a minor or if you are worried about how responsible your child will be with money.
Trusts and minors
You can use a will to appoint a guardian for your minor children. However, they cannot manage an inheritance that you leave to them. You may want to create a trust for them to keep those assets safe and a trustee to manage them, who may or may not be the same as the guardian. The assets do not immediately have to pass to your children when they turn 18. In fact, even if your children are adults when you set up the trust, you might want to have provisions that delay the receipt of the assets or put conditions on them. For example, you might want them to finish college first or reach a certain age. You can also put a trustee in charge of when distributions happen.
Protection in a divorce
A trust can also help you protect an inheritance from a child’s spouse in case there is a divorce. While inheritances are usually not considered shared property in a divorce, if the child receives the inheritance and puts it in a joint account, it could be. A trust can prevent this. Trusts can be a good precaution because even marriages that appear to be solid can end in divorce.
An attorney can be helpful in helping you create an estate plan, explaining how trusts and other estate planning vehicles work and if they would be useful in your situation. You should also review your estate plan periodically and update it if necessary.