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Estate planning and helping the kids with college expenses

It is a hope that many parents have for their children: that their children will go to college.

Unfortunately, there can be a variety of roadblocks to an individual eventually getting a college education. This includes financial roadblocks.

College can cost quite a bit, and over the past few decades, college expenses have gone up considerably in America. According to National Center for Education Statistics data, between the 1982-1983 school year and the 2012-2013 school year, the average price of a year at an undergraduate institution (including all types of institutions) over doubled, going from $9,138 to $20,234 in constant 2012-2013 dollars. For the purposes of these numbers, the cost of a year at an undergraduate institution includes: tuition, room, board and fees. The increase was particularly pronounced among four-year institutions.

The high cost of college can make it very difficult for a young person to be able to afford college all on their own. For many parents, one of their big financial goals is to be able to provide their children with financial help for college expenses to help ensure their children will be able to get a college education. One thing it can be important for parents who have this goal to think about is what would happen with this goal if a tragedy were to occur and they died before their kids reached college age.

Death doesn’t have to mean the end of a parent’s efforts to ensure their kids get can get a higher education. Among the things a person can include in their estate plan are mechanisms aimed at ensuring their children will have funds to help with college expenses in the future. For example, a person could set up a trust for the benefit of their children with the terms of the trust specifying that the funds are to be used for future college expenses. Thus, through estate planning, a parent can take steps aimed at safeguarding their ability to financially support their children’s future higher education.

Individuals who wish to include college-expense-support mechanisms for their children in their estate plan should meet with an attorney to figure out what mechanisms would be best for their situation and how best to set such mechanisms up.

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