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Trusting the gift of travel in wills

Forgoing the traditional inheritance route, a familial patriarch arranged for his children to be allotted $8,000 a year in order to travel between the U.S. and Israel, guaranteeing that after his death, his family would remain close. This is becoming more and more common as people want to have more control over what happens to the money they leave to loved ones once they're gone -- whether it's family reunions, visits to countries with family roots, or simply giving the irreplaceable gift of seeing the world. Building a trust into a will is a financially safe option for those who wish to follow this route.

If a large inheritance is left in a will, it is at risk due to creditors or divorces. Trusts, on the other hand, are guaranteed to be put toward the wishes of the deceased. Rather than giving a lump-sum (and the beneficiaries purchasing big-ticket items), funds can be put toward creating memories. In addition, the fund can be allocated for study-abroad or charity work in specific locations.

Of course, when designing a will you will want to see to the basic needs to your loved ones first, before bequeathing specific gifts or trips. That said, the trust can be flexible: the figures involved are subject to change over the years as travel becomes more expensive, for example.

Creating a trust for travel can protect the inheritance of the beneficiaries as well as give them a gift that cannot be replaced. They've already built memories with you, but this way, they can continue to build memories in memory of you.

Source: USA Today, "Beyond the grave: Wills give gift of travel," Karen Schwartz, Aug. 20, 2012

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