How Can We Handle our Trust Fund Wisely

Question: Dear Luise: My wife and I came into some money upwards of 12 million from a trust fund her parents set up. We have 3 kids, ages 10yrs, 7yrs,and 6 yrs and have only been married for 7 months.  We do not want to be “typical” with this money; however our top priorities are:
1. children having money for college
2. retirement/savings
3. buying a house
4. finally taking a family vacation that will afford a family of 5 a really nice time and some great memories. Thanks, J.

Answer: Dear J.: You sound like you have a level head and are naturally conservative. Those are great assets when something happens, no matter how wonderful, that upsets your financial balance. The fact that you realize how foolish people can be under such circumstances is a good indicator that you will do well.

As you are aware, we no longer “know” what we thought we knew about investments. Our financial world has been turned upside down and many of the approaches that were seen as “safe”, no longer are.

It would be wise to do a search in your area for well established, highly recommended Estate Planners. I use the plural because you should see at least three for a realistic comparison. Check and recheck their credentials and then make three appointments about a month apart to give you adequate time to work with them and review their recommendations. Let each one know that you are shopping and if that isn’t acceptable, move on. Give them your four, well thought-out goals and then turn them loose…one at a time, and see what they come up with.

Don’t be in a hurry. That’s a very important thing to keep in mind; there’s no rush. What you are doing will affect the rest of your life, your children’s lives and probably your grandchildren’s, too.

Don’t be taken in by any get rich quick programs or by anyone who tells you that you need to move quickly to “get in” on something.

After you have digested the short and long range plans submitted to you, pick your counselor. Do not try to go it alone…you can afford a mentor. Also remember that if there was something in one of the other plans that appealed to you, you can ask the person you chose to work with about it. You can custom-tailor anything you find mutually acceptable.

Keep a cool head, maintain your personal and family life as much as possible in the same known and comfortable patterns that you previously established…and have fun! Blessings, Luise

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