A lot of estate planning attorneys think that assets should be kept in trust for the adult children for their lifetime and not paid out right upon the death of the parent. You can do that and still give the adult children control of their share. A risk to the adult children that is out of their zone of control is divorce. When the inheritance comes in, if your child’s spouse goes out the door and they have put that money in joint names, half of it just left your family. They say the divorce rate is over 50%.
Creditor protection – you could be in a car wreck and you could be sued. We all cross the double yellow line, most times there is not an accident. But if there is one and it is your fault, whatever you own can be lost. If it is in a protective trust under the inherited trust of mom and dad, it might be protected and not be available to creditors and lawsuit.
You can keep the adult children from squandering the inheritance. You can pay the adult’s creditors directly or pay out the money over time like an annuity to the child. The parent can incentivize good citizenship or behavior. There was a front page article a number of years ago in the Wall Street Journal about Tom Glavine who was a very successful professional baseball pitcher with the Atlanta Braves. He talked about incentivizing his children because he didn’t want them to just sit around and be spoiled brats from an inheritance. So he set it up to incentivize them in certain ways. “If you will work and make money, you will get extra money. If you will do charitable work, we will give you extra money and money to the charity.”
If you want the adult daughter or son’s spouse to stay home with the kids, we will replace that spouse’s income that they would have earned in the work force. Most times the family will want the inheritance to stay in the bloodline. Do you want it to go to your kids? Do you want it to go to your grandkids? Do you want to provide education for your grandkids or multiple generations downstream?
If you have certain charities you like, you can help by providing money to a charity that could help people that couldn’t otherwise be helped. You may want to help nature conservancy or the Sierra Club, or help the homeless, or provide clean water in foreign countries or whatever it is.
There may be other people that are not your children but they are like your children. They grew up in your home or they have been loyal and faithful to you, and you might want to reward them financially.
NOTE: This is an excerpt from the book, The Legacy You Leave, by Steven Andrew Jackson, Esq. You can buy the book on Amazon or Kindle. Click here for details.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.