Tax & Wealth Advisor Alert: How a Trust Can Provide Asset Protection for Your Children

Do you want to leave your children with an inheritance, but are worried about creditors taking part of that inheritance? If so, you are not alone. Fortunately, a properly established protective trust can help safeguard the money you leave behind for your children from their creditors, including in a divorce.

Creditors can more easily reach your children’s inheritances if it is given to them directly, outside of a trust. However, creditors would have more hurdles to jump through to reach your children’s inheritance if it is held in a protective trust. Therefore, many parents add extra protections for their children by directing their children’s inheritances to be held in a protective trust.

The trust, acting as its own separate entity, would own the assets on behalf of your children, the beneficiaries of the trust. This way, your children would not technically own the assets which makes it much more difficult for creditors to reach their inheritances. Importantly, your children would still have access to the trust assets and benefit from them. A protective trust would allow your children to be the beneficiaries and receive distributions for their health, support, and maintenance. Also, in some circumstances your children could be the Trustee of their own trust, meaning they could manage the trust assets on their own.

Not only would a protective trust safeguard your children’s inheritances from obvious creditors, it would also safeguard their inheritances if they were to get a divorce. If you were to give your children their inheritances directly, they would need to take extra steps and precautions to ensure their inheritance is not comingled with marital property to prevent the inheritance from transmuting into a marital property asset. However, if the inheritance is protected in a trust, then the trust assets would remain classified as individual property under Wisconsin marital property law.

With a proper estate plan in place, you can have peace of mind knowing the money you leave behind for your children will be protected from the many threats your children may come across. If you would like to learn more about asset protection and discuss your estate planning options, please contact attorneys Carl D. Holborn, or Kelly M. Spott.