When would I use testamentary trust?

Many people use a testamentary trust to leave money to their minor children or disabled family members after both parents die. The inheritance the children receive may come from life insurance policies, the estate, or the sale of assets. A testamentary trust cannot be altered because it is created after the parents die.

A trustee is appointed to look after the trust until the minor children, the beneficiaries in this case, are eligible to receive it. Usually, this occurs when the children reach a certain age, such as 21 or 25 years old. Sometimes the money is distributed for other reasons, such as if the child needs it for college, marriage, or to provide for children of their own. This will depend on the parents’ wishes.

The trustee may be an attorney, but usually it is a trusted family member. The trustee is expected to look out for the child's best interests and should be somebody who will act responsibly in regards to the trust and the money in it.

A testamentary trust is usually created because a large amount of money is involved, so it is a good idea to have a Phoenixville estate attorney write up the document and make sure it is properly handled. Many family members tend to fight over money and other assets after a relative's death, so having a lawyer handle the paperwork may lessen the chance of litigation.

If you have minor children and would like to discuss the option of a testamentary trust, you may benefit from talking with an experienced estate attorney.  Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has the experience to handle your trust or estate planning needs. Contact us today at (610) 933-8069.


Testamentary trust, Phoenixville estate attorney


David M. Frees, III
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