Few people have to worry about leaving their children so much money that they could do nothing for the rest of their lives, but many in the middle class worry that their children could squander their inheritances. Some decide to cut these children from the will entirely, but there are options that aren’t quite as extreme. If you’re worried that an inheritance could be wasted, take the following steps to protect it.
Parents have the legal option to leave their adult children nothing; younger children can lay claim to part of the estate if they’ve merely been overlooked. However, circumstances are limited and vary by state. If you decide to leave nothing to a child, your Real Estate Lawyer will tell you that’s best to include such language in the will.
Leave a Conditional Inheritance
If you aren’t confident in your adult child’s decision making abilities, you can give someone else the power to make those decisions. One option is to put the money into a trust and appoint someone to manage it. It can be difficult to choose a trustee, as there is a lot of work involved and it is a large burden to put on a family member.
Don’t Leave a Lump Sum
One simple way to control a child’s inheritance is to put it in a trust with the instruction to give out instalment payments. The person you appoint as trustee will manage the account, but won’t be obligated to make decisions on how it’s spent. You can also get an annuity, which is a contract obligating an insurance company to make regular payments to the beneficiary.
An incentive trust is designed to reward good and punish bad behavior. You can focus on good behavior, or those behaviors you want to avoid. For a trustee, overseeing this type of trust is very difficult because it requires investigation of the beneficiary’s behavior and questioning of their motives.
For the wealthiest among us, dynasty trusts are a viable option. Here, you can create a trust that lasts forever, or until the money is gone. Having your money in a dynasty trust can protect it from creditors, poor judgment and unscrupulous spouses, while avoiding some taxes. These trusts are complex, and should be created by a Real Estate Lawyer who also handles investments, trusts and estates, such as Starr, Bejgiert, Zink & Rowells.