As the nation comes to terms with the loss of great actor and comedian, Robin Williams, Florida residents who are planning their estates may be wondering how he organized his and whether it is a model to be followed. When it comes to individuals with multi-million-dollar estates, the question of whether children are old enough to handle such a large inheritance usually comes up. In the case of Williams, though, it appears that he gifted much of his wealth to his children by way of several trust accounts before his death.
The question of whether to gift one’s children their inheritances before one’s death is a common one. However, it usually only applies to individuals with sufficient capital available for themselves. In some situations, there can be tax-saving benefits to this kind of arrangement, and it will also allow parents to help guide their adult children’s spending decisions with regard to how they use the capital.
Making a large gift to one’s children while still alive can help individuals avoid estate taxes that would apply to inheritances following their death. Another benefit allows parents to see how well their children manage the money they give them. This can help individuals plan out how they will dispense the rest of their estate assets following their deaths. A final benefit of trust planning is that trusts are private documents, which — unless they are for some reason leaked to the public — can remain confidential.
It is always best to leave trust planning to a professional. Through the use of experienced financial planners and attorneys, Florida residents can create a solid plan that will have the highest likelihood of being carried out according to their wishes following their deaths.
Source: MarketWatch, “Did Robin Williams get it right on kids’ trust?” Annika Ferris Cushnie, Aug. 14, 2014