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Releasing Funds From Trusts

Compare these two scenarios from families with sons around age nineteen who had begun college, only to discover they were already “smart enough.” Eric’s wealthy parents didn’t have time to be involved in his upbringing. Brad had been born to wonderful parents but had lost both by the time he turned eighteen. Both boys were beneficiaries of trusts managed at the time by institutional trustees.

Brad had been mowing lawns during his high school summers. He was organized, efficient, and had enough business to hire a friend to help occasionally. Brad even hung on to enough of his earnings to provide his own spending money and pay his car insurance for his first two years of college. He was a solid “B” student, but after his sophomore year he told his trustee he was “burned out on school.” Wanting to take a year off, Brad persuaded his trustee that expanding his landscaping business was a “worthy purpose,” even though probably only for the short term. The trustee felt it was appropriate to advance funds to Brad to buy a second used van and a larger mower.

Eric had apparently majored in partying. He had barely scraped through freshman year when he informed his trustee that school was “irrelevant.” Eric explained that he’d be better off going into “business” with two men he’d met in their late twenties. His would-be associates, while penniless, had impressed Eric with their big dreams and financial acumen. All they needed was some money to get things going. The trustee concluded, however, that an advance to allow Eric to invest in an exotic nightclub did not constitute a “worthy purpose”; he declined the request.

From “AARP Crash Course in Estate Planning: The Essential Guide to Wills, Trusts and Your Personal Legacy,” by Michael T. Palermo, JD, CFP, 2005, p. 167.


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