What is an Ascertainable Standard?

You may hear estate planning attorneys using the term, “ascertainable standard”. When an attorney creates a trust, they give the trustee a bit of guidance, as far as when and how they need to make distributions to the beneficiaries. The ascertainable standard in the trust gives them that guidance. A trustee can make distributions to a beneficiary for health, education, maintenance and support. This is also known as the “HEMS” standard. This standard gives the trustee some restriction on what they can make distributions for, but is broad enough language to ensure the beneficiary is taken care of.

Learn additional information about trusts in our book, Do I Really Need a Will.