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Planning for educational gifts from an estate

Many estate owners in Georgia want to be able to support the education of children, grandchildren or future generations with their assets. When preparing for the future, there are a few different ways to include educational bequests as part of an estate plan. Trusts can provide different flexible options as well as the opportunity to create certain conditions for beneficiaries to access the funds.

One popular kind of trust is called a pot trust. It has this name because it consists of one "pot" of funds, and each of a group of beneficiaries can request money from it. This can be a simple, effective option, but creators may want to place terms and conditions in order to ensure that each beneficiary has enough money to support their education. Many trusts allow for unequal distributions among beneficiaries. At one level, this can be positive; both students who choose more and less expensive universities can be accommodated. However, people may want to avoid a situation in which younger grandchildren receive no funds or only minimal bequests because older beneficiaries have already depleted the funds.

Another option is to create a separate trust for each beneficiary. Each trust could receive equal sums of money. While this option can do more to preserve equality, it allows less flexibility with regard to the price of the educational options chosen by each beneficiary. If a trust doesn't seem quite right, one could use their estate plan to fund a 529 plan. This is an account with provisions that allow for changes to the educational system over time.

When thinking about how to benefit future generations, there are multiple options available to achieve a person's desired goals. An estate planning attorney can help clients draft key documents and develop individual solutions that benefit their families.

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