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Using trusts to place conditions on inheriting assets

Nevada residents who are working on their estate plans may wonder what kind of conditions they can put on an inheritance. For example, they may wish to pass assets to a beneficiary who is married to someone they dislike, and they may not want that spouse to have access to the assets.

It is possible to write a will that includes the condition that the beneficiary divorce the spouse. However, this may backfire. The beneficiary may turn down the inheritance and may resent the relative who put this condition in place.

A better solution may be to establish a trust. There would then be many options available. One might be to choose an independent trustee and have the relative get an annual income but be unable to control the assets that fund the trust. Another option might be to specify that the income can only be used for the relative's benefit and not for that of the spouse. A third option would be to include a provision that the restrictions are only in place as long as the relative is married to the spouse. The inheritance could also be protected from the spouse in case of divorce. However, the wording on these conditions would have to made with some sensitivity toward the parties in question.

Trusts may be a solution to many issues in estate planning, and individuals may wish to discuss setting up a trust with an attorney. There are many different types of trusts, and understanding them and their administration can be difficult as can choosing the best trust for an estate's needs. Some trusts are controlled by the owner until the owner's death while others put the assets beyond the owner's control and cannot be changed. Trusts can be used to distribute income to a family member with special needs, to contribute to charity and for many other purposes.

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