Bequeathing Money to Heirs

Bequeathing Money to Heirs

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

Many people want to bequeath some money to their heirs, but they do not want to completely let go of their control. There are some ways that you can control the money "from the grave." Here is a list of ways to minimize how your children and grandchildren spend the money in their trust.

1. Bequeath a trust to heirs, but limit the way in which they spend their money

2. "Anti-bling" provision: No jewelry, no boats, no airplanes. The heir can only make appropriate expenditures such as education or charity.

3. Be flexible: What if you say the money can only be used for college, but the heir gets a full scholarship? Make sure to keep flexibility in all trust and estate planning.

4. If you are putting junior (or other heirs) in charge of his own money, make a co-trustee, to prevent junior being pressured by his spouse to make a distribution. The co-trustee will have to agree to all expenditures made from the trust.

5. Be careful of incentive trusts. An incentive trust is if the heir makes a certain amount of money, you will match it through distributions. What if one child makes little money but works for a noble cause, or vice versa?

The above is a summary of a radio show on MMFN Money Matters Financial Network, with host Gary Goldberg, of Gary Goldberg Planning Services, Inc. in Montebello, New York, and his guest Martin M. Shenkman, Esq. an estate planner in Paramus, New Jersey. Listen to the audio clip of this segment on

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