By Francine D. Ward, Monty White LLP | 760.636.0066 | Email

Your 3-Step Guide to Creating an Informed Estate Plan

Do you have an adult child that you are concerned about? Maybe they struggle with an addiction, marital problems, or maybe they are irresponsible when it comes to money. Estate planning can create additional challenges for families having to deal with these tough issues. I am sure the last thing you want is for your wealth to be negatively impacted by that child’s past or present behavior. Many parents concern themselves with how to protect their troubled child from making bad mistakes. Mistakes that often lead to terrible consequences, not only for the adult child but for the parent’s estate.

Understandably, this is often a sensitive topic to broach during the estate planning process. For many parents it is embarrassing and there is a fear of being judged.  Nonetheless, it’s an important conversation to have. For many reasons, my law office is a safe space to discuss these sensitive issues. I will 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—in the way YOU want. It is important to put your trust in your estate planning attorney knowing that they 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. What works for you might mean that you need to customize your plan based on the needs of each child. Feel free to contact me to discuss any issues you may have regarding your adult children. The worst course of action is to pretend the issue does not exist and that it will miraculously resolve itself. Addressing these concerns before it’s too late can help your family avoid a major problem later.

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 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), I am happy to review your current plan to make sure that it is customized to optimize your child’s long-term security and well-being.

Step #3: Follow up with us continually
Once you 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 team to answer any questions that arise and make any necessary changes as time goes by. Staying in touch frequently means that your plans stay up to date and will continue to further your goals for your family.

Give us a call today so we can make sure all your children get the most out of life and enjoy ongoing financial security for years to come.