The holiday season is upon us, and across the country, Amazon shopping carts once again will start filling up with gifts for loved ones.
However, while America’s love for consumerism is not likely to fizzle anytime soon, there does appear to be a shift — particularly within the millennial generation, towards favoring travel and leisure over material goods. Observant parents and grandparents are taking note and looking for ways to foster more meaningful giving experiences.
A growing trend in the estate planning community is the use of trusts to fund travel for heirs. Travel-related trusts can cover travel broadly or be intended for very specific purposes. Some examples are as follows.
• Funding a loved one’s dream trip
• Facilitating family visits/reunions that otherwise might not occur because of geographical distances
• Providing funds to support studying abroad
• Supporting philanthropic work in a third-world country
• Encouraging children/grandchildren to become acquainted with their roots by visiting the homeland of ancestors
An experienced estate planning attorney will work with the creator of the trust to ensure that the terms are in accordance with their wishes.
In addition to really having a say in how your estate is used, another upside to allocating trust funds for a specific purpose, such as travel, is that it offers protection against the misuse of funds (e.x. blowing the money on an expensive new sports car) and protects against creditors, divorce, etc. There also can be tax advantages to using trusts vs. giving inheritances outright.
The Bottom Line?
The beauty of estate planning is the knowledge that your intentions and wishes will be honored. Gifting travel to heirs can be very gratifying, knowing that you are not simply leaving behind money or belongings, but experiences that will lead to a lifetime of memories. Through the use of travel trusts, you really have the world at your fingertips.
Gary Altman is the principal and founder of Altman & Associates. He can be reached at 301-468-3220 and [email protected]