Protecting your assets from your kids
It can be frightening thinking about leaving your estate to children who have been irresponsible with their lives and money. Fortunately, you can prepare a trust or will that protects your assets from their reckless behavior and provide for your children at the same time.
If you believe that your children will not save or spend their inheritance properly, you can leave them their inheritance in a trust. You get to select the trustee that will save and handle their money responsibly for them. A trustee can be a family member, close friend or a corporate fiduciary such as a bank. A corporate trustee is beneficial because the trustee’s administrative duties (accounting, tax returns, etc.) are best handled by a professional. If you want family involvement, you can name a family member as a co-trustee or family advisor to assist the corporate trustee.
To prevent your money being used to fund your children’s bad habits, you can place restrictions on their inheritance. Receiving a portion or all of their inheritance can be conditioned upon their successful completion of a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program or obtaining a college degree. If they continue their dangerous or unproductive lifestyles, they would receive nothing until their behavior changes.
If you feel that your children are too immature to receive their full inheritance, you can provide for them to receive installments. This could be an annual sum over a period of time or lump sum portions as they get older (e.g. 33% at age 30; 33% at 35 and the balance at age 40).
If you are worried that your child might lose their inheritance through divorce, a trust condition can be included requiring the trustee to receive a signed prenuptial agreement protecting the inheritance before the child receives a distribution.
Making sure that your children and your assets are protected when you die is important. If you want to create an estate plan to meet the unique needs of your family, contact Steven Knecht for a consultation.