Your beneficiaries will inherit your assets according to your estate plan after you pass away, but many factors can derail the vision you have in mind for them. While you may want to leave something for everyone you love, you may not be able to trust them all to manage these assets effectively.
Be sure to consider how an inheritance could affect potential beneficiaries who are minors, alcohol or drug addicts, or have special needs because you can adjust your estate plan to address these concerns. Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney for guidance about critical considerations when choosing your beneficiaries. Experience estate planning, simplified, at the Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson. Call (727) 351-7057 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation.
Good Estate Planning Includes Naming Appropriate Beneficiaries
A knowledgeable and experienced estate planning lawyer can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that may include:
- Last will and testament
- Advance healthcare directives, also called a living will
- Durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney
- Preneed guardian designation for minor children or children with special needs
Understanding How Your Will and Trusts Should Interact Within Your Estate Plan
Trusts require you to name a trustee to manage and administer the trust and beneficiaries to receive trust funds. You must transfer assets into the trust, such as the deed to your home if you intend to include it in the trust. A revocable living trust allows flexibility to amend or cancel the trust during your lifetime, but it offers no asset protection against creditors or lawsuits for trust property.
If you create a trust, you should include a pour-over clause in your last will and testament to add final assets to the trust for your beneficiaries and prevent potential problems if you forget. However, items in your pour-over will are subject to probate, which can delay or ultimately prevent them from being transferred to your trust. A revocable trust will become irrevocable when you pass away, securing the assets already in that trust from creditors and probate so your beneficiaries can inherit their intended assets.
If you don’t create a trust, your assets will be subject to probate along with your last will and testament, and knowledge of those assets enters the public record. Probate can take months, and the court may sell many of your assets to pay your final bills, taxes, and debts, leaving your beneficiaries to inherit only what’s left afterward. However, there are ways to avoid many delays, disputes, and disappointments that probate can bring.
Trusts can allow you more control. You can leave cash, retirement accounts, investments, real estate, family heirlooms, and other assets to beneficiaries under the conditions you set. These assets never enter the public record in probate, and even other beneficiaries may not know what the others received. Your trustee can administer your trust privately after you pass away or become incapacitated. Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine what good estate planning looks like for you and your beneficiaries.
What To Do When Your Child Has a Problem Managing Finances
Circumstances may arise when you feel uncomfortable naming a child as a beneficiary. Suppose your child has special needs and receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In that case, an inheritance could potentially affect their income and assets in a way that would disqualify them from receiving benefits. To guard against this threat, you can create a special needs trust for the child.
Perhaps you have an older child with an alcohol or drug problem. You could create a discretionary trust through which the trustee uses trust funds to pay for your adult child’s basic needs, such as managing rent and utility bill payments. As a discretionary beneficiary, the child would have disincentives that discourage further substance abuse, and you could include custom clauses for random drug testing among the conditions.
If your beneficiaries are minors and you pass away before they become legal adults, the conditions could indicate they may not have access to their inheritance until they turn 18. You can create a trust to arrange for a trustee to ensure that each minor child’s inheritance benefits the child before they turn 18. Discuss your specific needs with an experienced estate planning attorney.
You Need a Proactive, Compassionate, and Insightful Attorney to Strategize for Your Estate Plan’s Beneficiaries
Every day, we help our clients prepare estate plans that account for the unique circumstances of their intended beneficiaries. Rather than searching for an “estate planning near me” in or near Palm Harbor, Florida, look no further than the Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. We welcome your call to answer your estate planning questions. As our reviews and testimonials attest, we have the knowledge and experience to address your concerns and guide you through the essential steps for your individualized estate plan. This process starts with an initial consultation.
Our office consistently upholds high standards of compassion and responsiveness to make you feel valued and heard—today and for the rest of your life. We have helped Floridians with estate planning for over 15 years. We sweat the small stuff—so you don’t have to. Our clients enjoy the convenience of meeting with us from their locations using the latest teleconferencing and virtual consultation tools.
Contact The Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson for Guidance with Florida Estate Planning
Contact our team at The Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. in Palm Harbor, Florida, at (727) 351-7057 or fill out our online form to schedule an initial consultation. The Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson: Estate Planning. Simplified.
Copyright © 2022. Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.