Berman & Asbel, LLP

Estate plans to benefit future family generations

In many cases, even very wealthy Pennsylvanians may expect their large estates to only benefit a couple of their family's generations. Because of division, taxes and business risks, a family's wealth may be depleted within three generations.

However, many people want to see their wealth benefit future family generations in perpetuity. As each generation inherits, assets are divided between them, capital gains and transfer taxes are assessed and third parties may initiate attacks on the transfers. This can leave future generations without the benefit of their family's legacy.

It is possible to create a trust to make certain the wealth will be there to benefit many generations of a family to come. Setting up trusts to provide future generations with opportunities they can use rather than with just lump-sum distributions may be a good idea. For example, a grantor may want to provide money through the trust for future generations to attend college without accumulating debt. One may also provide through the trust the ability for future generations to start their own businesses using money from the trust. This can help the legacy continue from generation to generation, as each one has opportunities to make their own successes while also replenishing the ongoing family trust.

People who want to set up trusts in a way to benefit multiple generations of their family may want to discuss how to do so with their estate planning attorney. Legal counsel might establish a trust in a manner that will help the assets grow in value and continue to benefit the client's family over time. An attorney may also be able to use multiple different estate-planning tools to help minimize the future expected estate, transfer and capital gains taxes.

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