When it comes to estate planning, there is certainly no “one-size-fits-all” approach to how an estate should be transferred. One tool that can be helpful in the right circumstances is what is known as a discretionary trust. A discretionary trust can be used for a variety of purposes, but one common use is to place restrictions on the transfer of assets to a beneficiary. For example, one might have a family member who struggles with substance abuse or behavioral issues, in which case a parent may not want to make an outright transfer of assets to that child. With a discretionary trust, a trustee has absolute and total discretion over how and when the assets are to be distributed. If it would do more harm than good to transfer assets to a beneficiary, a trustee may elect to withhold a distribution. A discretionary trust can also be used in conjunction with a special needs trust for a child with special medical needs. One scenario where this can be helpful is when a transfer needs to be made to a child, but the child needs to ensure that government benefits such as SSI or SSDI aren’t jeopardized by the transfer. Trusts are flexible estate planning instruments. When they are structured properly by a qualified legal professional, they can be an immensely helpful tool in one’s overall financial plan.