In your last will and testament, you can clarify how estate assets should be distributed to heirs. Unless your will states otherwise, your heirs will receive their full share of assets after the estate has been administered.
However, this manner of distribution may not be the best option for all parties involved, perhaps especially if you have heirs who are minors or not yet mature enough to handle financial responsibilities.
In your will, it is important to address these matters by stating how assets should be distributed. For example, you can stipulate that a minor’s share of the estate should be held by the executor or a trustee of your choosing, and that the assets should be distributed when the minor reaches a certain age. You could also stipulate that the distributions should be staggered over time.
Establishing a trust is an excellent way of not only delaying or staggering distributions; a trust that is properly set up can help minimize the cost of probate. Additionally, if you have a loved one with a disability, creating an appropriate trust can help ensure that your loved one does not lose his or her government benefits as a result of receiving an inheritance.
For more on that, please see our previous post, “Trust options for parents of children with disabilities.”