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Best practices for creating a trust for children

A New York man recently made waves when he left his daughters $20 million in a trust that they would be entitled to when they turned 35. The fact that his daughters had to wait until age 35 to collect was not necessarily controversial. Those who study the issue say that conditions that allow the daughters to collect some of the money prior to age 35 amount to helicopter parenting.

For instance, one of the daughters would be given $750,000 for graduating from college and writing a paragraph about how she would spend the money. Another would be entitled to $500,000 after getting married assuming that her husband signed a statement promising not to touch the money. If they opt to stay home and raise children, they will get 3 percent of the trust's value each year as long as the child was born in wedlock.

Those who leave money for their children are often advised to leave as much as possible as soon as possible. This is because it is impossible to know how old a parent or child will be when he or she passes away. Putting an excessive number of conditions into a trust may also make it harder to execute. However, with the average estate worth $1 million, trusts are generally written without a lot of conditions placed in them.

Trusts may be a good tool for parents who want to set aside money for their children in the event of an early passing. Money may be set aside for educational expenses, health care costs and anything else a parent wants a child to have. An attorney may be able to help draft trust documents and ensure that they comply with state laws.

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