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  • Writer's pictureElisabeth Rubel

The Story of Tom

The age of eighteen.... when your child enters into adulthood and instantly makes wise decisions about their future. Well, maybe in a perfect world. In reality, the early years of adulthood are a time when a young man or woman sometimes makes mistakes (don't we all!). When you throw in the additional challenge of inheriting a large amount of money, even a "good" kid may struggle with how to balance providing for their current needs and investing for their future. I once knew someone named Tom. He was thirty-two when I met him, lots of fun, drove a beat-up old pick up truck and lived at home with his parents. One day he shared that he received a sizable settlement after a work injury when he was nineteen. Receiving that money presented an opportunity to establish a very nice nest egg. But of course that was not what happened. After buying a new truck, lending money to friends and buying beer for his college dorm for most of the year, the money was gone. I use this example to illustrate the potential for serious financial mistakes when money is passed to a young person with no strings attached. Fortunately, with proper planning, parents can establish a living trust which controls exactly how and when their kids will receive an inheritance. Provisions such as a college graduation incentive and a staggered distribution provision are often used to ensure funds are spent wisely.

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