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SMART MONEY, A COLUMN BY BRUCE WILLIAMS

Time could be right to divide trust

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 12:01 am

Q.: My mother passed away six months ago. She had a trust set up, and we were told that in the trust, she had put aside money for her children. My father is still alive, and he may need some of the money that was left to us. How long should we wait before delving into this? One of my siblings keeps pressing us to look into this as she could use her share. — Linda, via email

A.: I understand what your sibling is saying, and I have no problem with it. There are legal matters to be decided here, and how long the family should wait depends in some measure on the specific verbiage in the trust. It's clear what your mother wanted to accomplish, and it's equally clear that you are concerned with your father's welfare.

You didn't mention how much money is involved here, but if other family members are in need of the money and you are not, why not go ahead and have the trust divided? The individuals who would like to help out your dad can do so.

Send questions to bruce@ brucewilliams.com or to Smart Money, P.O. Box 7150, Hudson, FL 34674. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.