Your Three-Step Guide to Creating an Informed Estate Plan
By Cory Howes
Are you concerned about any of your adult children? Estate planning can pose extra challenges for families with adult children struggling with addiction, marital issues, or financial irresponsibility. The last thing you want is for your wealth to end up having a negative impact on your child, or to see them squander their inheritance. Many parents are concerned about what they can do to shield an adult child who struggles with problems like these from bad decisions and bad people that could worsen their child’s situation.
This is often a hidden issue within estate planning conversations, as it’s a sensitive topic that can bring up painful memories or emotions. Some parents are apprehensive to discuss their troubled adult children with friends or colleagues because of its private nature and potential for judgment from those outside the family.
However, estate planning teams like ours offer safe spaces where we work diligently to craft the best possible plan for your family while taking your unique challenges into account. While these conversations may be difficult to have, they are crucial to ensuring that your wishes are carried out the way you want. It’s important to put your trust in your estate planning attorney, knowing that we have both you and your troubled adult child’s best interests in mind.
Step #1: Figure out what works for your family
First, understand that what works for your family doesn’t necessarily mean an identical plan for each of your children — it’s okay to customize your plan to work differently for each beneficiary depending on their unique path through life. Feel welcome to initiate a frank discussion with us about any issues you may be concerned about regarding your adult children. The worst course of action is to pretend the issue isn’t there or that it will somehow resolve itself. Bringing these factors to light can only improve the situation and help you create the best possible plan for your family.
Step #2: Create a tailor-made plan to mitigate risk
A lifetime trust can be a great solution to prevent an inheritance from making a troubled child’s situation worse. Lifetime trusts can spread distributions over the course of your beneficiary’s entire life, significantly reducing the risk that they waste their entire inheritance on harmful substances, irresponsible spending, or contentious divorce proceedings. Lifetime trusts keep your wealth out of the hands of the probate and divorce courts and ensure that the assets contained in the trust stay in the family, even after a divorce. If you don’t already have the benefits of lifetime trusts written into your estate plan (or simply aren’t sure), we can review your current plan to make sure that it’s customized to optimize your child’s long-term security and well-being.
Step #3: Follow up with us continually
Once we have a plan in place to protect all members of your family, make sure you follow up with us, your financial advisor, and your family to make sure the plan continues to work as intended. You can rely on your financial advising and estate planning professional teams to answer any questions that arise and make any necessary changes as time goes by. Staying in touch frequently means that your plans stay updated and will continue to further your goals for your family.
If you have questions or would like to discuss planning for your adult beneficiaries who may have problems with an inheritance, please do not hesitate to contact me so we can make sure all your children get the most out of life and enjoy ongoing financial security for years to come.