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I have a will but want to provide for my nieces and nephews, do I need to establish separate trusts for each of them?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

All of my nieces and nephews are under the age of 18. I want to be sure that they are the direct beneficiaries. I also want to prevent my drug addicted brother from getting any of the funds.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

You should establish a trust and fund it during your lifetime. Upon your death, the assets will be held or distributed as you have directed in the trust. The trust can break down into separate shares for your nieces and nephews.
You do not want to direct that your nieces and nephews receiving anything directly under your Will if they are under 18 and your brother is a drug addict. Probate is expensive and time consuming. You brother, being a family member will have notice of your death and the ability to read you Will at the Probate Court. If your nieces and nephews are to receive assets under the age of 18, the court will require a guardian be appointed for them, adding to the cost. You brother could apply to be the guardian and then gain access to the funds.
If you establish a trust, after your death, your successor Trustee can instantly being serving as Trustee. Your brother would have no access to the funds and the trust will remain private.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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