If you're one of the many who enjoy scoffing at TLC's hit reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," about a child beauty pageant contestant and her down-home Georgia family, it may be time to set aside your disdain, at least temporarily. No matter what you think of the show or its subjects, 7-year-old Alana Thompson's mom has made a smart move by taking steps to ensure that her children won't squander their reality show earnings -- at least until they're old enough to know better.
June Shannon has set up trust funds for Honey Boo Boo and her sisters, ages 12, 15 and 18, as well as Shannon's baby granddaughter. TLC deposits the family members' earnings directly into the accounts, which the girls can't access until they turn 21. The only exceptions are if they need the money for education or emergency medical expenses. With the family making a reported $15,000 to $20,000 per episode, the reality show stars should have a comfortable nest egg even after their popularity has faded.
Of course, you don't have to earn your living guzzling Mama June's "go go juice" in front of a national audience to make use of a trust. While a trust comes in especially handy for minors who receive a large amount of money, many parents establish one to offer some protection in case they die before their children reach adulthood.
There are many different types of trusts to choose from based on your family's needs. For example, if you want to prevent your children -- or yourself -- from changing the terms of the trust or dipping into it prematurely, a revocable living trust might be for you. There are also testamentary trusts, charitable trusts and special needs trusts, among other types. An estate planning attorney can walk you through the different options and help you decide which is best for you.
Even if you don't want to take any more lessons from the family that brought us Glitzy the pot-bellied pig, a trust fund may be well worth considering. Long after the TV cameras have left their home for another irresistible eyesore, Honey Boo Boo and her siblings will have their mother to thank for a wise estate planning move.
Source: MSN Money, "Honey Boo Boo's trust fund: A smart move," Karen Datko, Jan. 8, 2013