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How do I create a testamentary trust?

Sometimes, protecting your estate means giving your beneficiaries some time to grow into the gifts you wish to leave them. A testamentary trust is one of the ways to ensure that your estate is not squandered by beneficiaries too young or immature to appreciate the gravity of the situation. Testamentary trusts are established in a will and then created upon the death of the testator, or will creator.

In order to properly create such a trust, one must plan for it very carefully. You certainly don't want to execute such an important protection poorly. A testamentary trust is not created upon the instant of the will creator's death, but rather after the probate process occurs. While some trusts provide protection from the probate process altogether, a testamentary trust comes into play after probate takes place.

To form such a trust in a will, a person must first designate a trustee and beneficiaries, as well as lay out in writing how and when property is to be distributed once the probate process concludes. The terms of the trust must be a part of the creator's final iteration of his or her will. If it exists in a previous version of the will only, it will probably not be honored.

If you believe that a testamentary trust fits your needs, be sure to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. You want to make sure that you execute this document very carefully so that it can provide all the available protections to your estate and beneficiaries. Your family and loved ones should certainly benefit from your estate according to your wishes, but maybe giving them some time to mature is ideal for everyone's sake.

Source: Findlaw, "Placing a Testamentary Trust in a Will," accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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