Marriage unites two people, two families, and multiple lives, but it does not have to unite your estate plans. Every parent wishes the best for their children and it is important to remember that you can plan your estate with safeguards regarding your child’s spouse.
Simply naming your child as a beneficiary to your Will gives them unrestricted power over whatever assets they inherit from you. In the event of a divorce, if this inheritance is not kept separate from other marital assets then it could end up equitably distributed to your child’s ex-spouse.
A lifetime trust, on the other hand, can establish permissible uses for those same assets and shield your child from potentially losing their inheritance to a divorce.
Prenuptial agreements, while another effective tool for managing the financials of a marriage, are often perceived as offensive to the marriage or without faith that the marriage will last. Establishing a trust can circumvent this negativity while still keeping your hard-earned estate “in the family.” Trusts allow you to directly control how and to whom your estate is distributed.
You can also designate future beneficiaries to your property when operating through a trust. In example, you can grant your child the power of appointment so they can choose who may benefit from any remaining trust property at their death. Along with this, you can limit their choices to a set of permissible beneficiaries so they cannot give away their remaining inheritance to just anyone.
When establishing a trust, it is important to review any beneficiary designations already put into place. Life insurance policies and wills can be updated to benefit a trust rather than a person and safeguard your estate from your in-laws.
Protecting your assets through estate planning grows ever more complex when your extended family is taken into account. The Kendrick Law Group is dedicated to providing you with quality legal counsel for all of your estate planning or family needs. To learn more about how we can help you plan for and protect your assets, contact us today.
Co-written by: Spenser Nampon, Law Clerk