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When to establish a trust


When you start planning for your family’s wellbeing after your death, ensuring their lifelong financial stability is not always cut and dried. Everyone’s situation is different and while it may be unpleasant, answering the tough questions in advance will ease concerns and ensure your affairs are conducted as you wish when you’re no longer around to manage them:

“With my blended family, I just don’t want any fighting after I’m gone. I want all my descendants to end up with something from me.”

“My father left money to all three of us when he died, but one sister has an addiction problem. Is there any way to keep her from getting those funds?”

“I’m afraid that my wife would spend everything I left and outlive what I provided for her.”

“I operate a personal business and I want to protect my assets from potential lawsuits and creditors. Is there anything I can do for that?”

AAFMAA members ask questions like these and many more about how they can ensure their money will be handled properly when they’re gone. Establishing a trust is often the best solution. Trusts are legal documents drafted by a licensed attorney* and managed by a trustee — which can be either an individual or trust company. Trusts can be funded and operated while a person is living or when they pass away. If a person sets up a trust while they are living, the same rules can also apply after they die. Trust provisions can ensure the assets you leave behind are handled exactly the way you intend. With this type of versatility, a trust can solve the issues and questions you and your family might struggle with in the future, now while you’re still able to participate.

Establishing a trust can be overwhelming for some. Here’s an approach to make it easier:

  • First, determine your wishes, desires and goals. Nothing is off limits. Your vision of your legacy is entirely up to you.
  • Second, take your vision to an attorney who knows how to draft them into a legal document.
  • Next, name a trustee — this can be an individual person or a company. They will control the assets in your trust exactly as you specify (Should you decide to select AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust, LLC as your trustee, for example, we'll work with your attorney as you go through this process).

With this simple process, you can better protect those assets you’ve worked so hard to accumulate and ensure that when the time comes, your family is able to mourn your loss together without fighting each other over your remaining assets.

*If you need an attorney referral, AWM&T can provide one