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“Travel” Trusts Allow Gifting of Experiences

Some who bequeath money for travel want their offspring to connect with their heritage, culture or religion. They might go so far as to require the beneficiary to study or take courses in a particular country.

Years ago, I had a client approach me with what I thought was a pretty novel idea.  She had been a naturalist all of her life and had travel throughout the world. Upon traveling to the continent of Antarctica she fell in love, most especially its penguins.  She wanted her trust to bequeath a trip to this continent to a group of named beneficiaries who then would not only enjoy this incredible experience but would spread her ashes there as well.

As pointed out in a recent article from the Philadelphia Inquirer, this type of planning is not as unique as I thought as more and more people are passing on type of inheritance in the form of a Travel Trust.

True to its name, a Travel Trust incorporates special language designed to accomplish one thing and one thing only: give the beneficiaries the chance to travel as you always wanted them to. The terms can be broad or specific, but the main idea is to limit the use of these trust funds for travel – making sure the money is not spent on purchasing a new car, etc. This can be a powerful way for families to keep traditions alive, and even ensure for the possibility of specific religious trips, when financial concerns or hectic daily life could otherwise let them slide.

One unique aspect of these types of trusts is that they need not be much more expensive than any other customized revocable living trust would be.  You certainly would want to consider this option when creating your estate plan if you have a specific travel experience you would like to pass on to your loved ones. My only problem with the information presented in the Philadelphia Inquirer article is that it suggests that this trust has to be a completely separate trust.  I prefer to create this type of planning as a subtrust of your revocable living trust. 

You can learn more about estate planning and elder law issues on our website. Be sure to sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter to stay abreast of issues like these that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: Philadelphia Inquirer (August 20, 2012) “Inheritance travel: Trusts can fund trips for heirs

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