Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Should I give my children their inheritance all at once or over a period of time?

Although your natural inclination may be to give your adult children their inheritances outright, that may not be the best or wisest course of action for them.  A well-thought out series of sub-trusts in your living trust can provide for the specific needs of each child.  

Leaving property to your children in trust can often protect them from their own inexperience with money, from their inability to make wise decisions, from their creditors or from a divorcing spouse. Adult children who do not have experience with large sums of money are often overwhelmed when they receive an inheritance.  They may make poor choices and come to realize, too late, that their inheritances have gone to poor investments and frivolous spending.

Perhaps an adult child is easily influenced by friends and family and can’t say “no” when asked for a handout.  Perhaps he or she has a drug or alcohol problem, and a large windfall will only increase his or her inability to satisfy the dependency.  Perhaps at the time of your death, one of your children have the misfortune of being in the middle of a nasty divorce or lawsuit.

By using a separate sub-trust for each child, you can plan for all these situations very specifically if they currently exist, or you can plan in anticipation of the possibility of those problems and provide some protection for your children if it is later needed.

A Professional Corporation
Suzanne M. Graves
Attorney & Counselor at Law

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