Flexibility is Needed For Long-Term Planning


Financial PlannerThe Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, wisely said, “change is the only constant in life.” In terms of long-term planning this is especially true. It is challenging enough to plan for next year, but when your plans involve the distant future (grandchildren and generations you may never meet) the possibility of change increases substantially. What makes sense now may not make sense in twenty years. An ever-changing economy, advancing technology, and uncertainty about the future in general, create an environment in which flexible financial planning is more than just prudent, it is essential. The good news is that there are long-term planning options that provide the necessary flexibility to protect your own future, as well as future generations.

Multi-Generational Planning

It is not uncommon for individuals and families to plan for the next generation (their children and grandchildren); however, multi-generational planning is not as widely practiced or understood. The future tax landscape and financial regulations make rigid estate planning less effective in the long term. However, many people like the rigid structure of certain types of estate planning, such as dynasty trusts. These highly structured trusts make managing individual wealth in the immediate future easier, so they are sometimes preferable to the more flexible options.

One such flexible planning option is a multi-generational trust. These long-term planning tools allow future modification of trust terms, distribution flexibility, and multiple other clauses to protect the funds from future uncertainty. Another method of flexible, multi-generational planning is through a process known as decanting. Decanting occurs when assets are moved from an old trust into an updated trust. This process can only be used in certain situations, and each state has its own laws regulating decanting. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney will understand your state’s stance on decanting and how it affects your long-term planning options.

Giving discretionary power to trustees is another method of multi-generational planning. Trustees can be authorized to make a broader range of decisions regarding assets, and beneficiaries can be given “power of appointment” laws, allowing them to decide what is in their best interest and of future generations. This can be useful in situations where an intended beneficiary doesn’t have the responsibility or capacity to handle the funds. For example, if a favorite grandchild becomes an adult with a serious substance abuse problem, the trustees can put certain restrictions on the disbursement of funds for that individual.

Andrew M. Lamkin – Estate Planning Attorney

No two estate planning situations are the same. Every client has unique needs, and needs an estate plan tailored to those needs. Whether you are planning for a disabled child, safeguarding your estate from unnecessary taxes, or planning for multiple, future generations, The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. can help. We will create a comprehensive plan based on your specific goals, answer your questions, and help ease any concerns. Serving clients in Long Island and throughout New York State, our legal team will draft wills and trusts, administer estates, and help clients apply for Medicaid and nursing home care. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

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