Deciding How to Leave Assets to Adult Children

For many people, it’s important to know that they are able to leave a legacy to their children after they die. If you’ve decided it’s time to make your will, you can turn to an estate planning attorney in Tracy or Livermore for guidance. Your lawyer can help you sort through your options for leaving assets to your adult children and other beneficiaries.

Deciding How Much to Give

If you have multiple children, it may be challenging to divide your estate in a manner you feel is fair. Remember that being fair doesn’t necessarily mean giving equally to each of your children. Perhaps one of your children is a successful entrepreneur who doesn’t have as much need of your gift as another child who works for a nonprofit organization. Perhaps you are estranged from one adult child, but another has been a devoted caregiver for you during an illness. You can also consider whether you truly want to leave your entire estate to your adult children. Perhaps you want to leave gifts for your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and favorite charities. If you wish, you can explain your decisions in a letter addressed to your loved ones, which can be opened after your death.

Consider Giving During Your Life

Leaving a legacy to your adult children can feel personally satisfying, but what if you wish to see your children benefit before you die? Ask your will attorney about planned giving during your lifetime. You may wish to help one of your children start a business or finish a college degree. Planned giving during your lifetime is also a way of evaluating whether your children would handle a large inheritance responsibly.

Establish a Trust

Even the most responsible of individuals can make foolish decisions in the wake of a beloved parent’s death. If you’re concerned about your children squandering their inheritances, consider having your lawyer set up a trust. When you transfer assets into a trust, you can place conditions on their distribution. You may wish to set up periodic payments to your beneficiaries. You could even entice a less-than-motivated child to be a productive member of society by matching distributions with the adult child’s income. If you choose this option, your lawyer will recommend allowing exceptions for disability and retirement.

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