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Can you control how adult children use their inheritance?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2023 | Trusts |

Are you worried about what your heirs are going to do with the money that you leave them? You’re not the only person who has expressed this concern. Adults often express this worry for a variety of reasons.

For example, maybe you feel that your heirs are still young and irresponsible. You would like to leave them money so that they can buy a home in a competitive housing market or so that they can get a college education without having to take out extensive student loans. But you are concerned that your heirs will ultimately use the money frivolously or irresponsibly.

Another concern could be if your heir struggles with some sort of addiction, such as an addiction to drugs or gambling. You may be concerned about leaving them money because you may be concerned that you will be inadvertently facilitating their situation.

You can use a trust

If you leave an heir money in your will, you typically can’t control how they will use it. You can specify how much money they get or you can leave them out of the will and disinherit them entirely. But they can do whatever they want with the money that they receive if it is transferred in this way.

The key, then, is to use a trust. Some trusts are set up so that an heir has to use the money in a very specific way, such as paying for college tuition. But you may also have the option to create a discretionary trust that simply allows the trustee to decide how the money is used and when it will be paid out to your heir. This could be an easy way to prevent money from being spent on frivolous purchases or to fuel an addiction.

Creating a trust that works for your family

Trusts are more complex than other estate planning documents, but they can give you a lot of control and many different options when it comes to transferring assets during life or after death. Be sure you look into all of the legal steps you will need to take as you create a trust that could potentially be beneficial for your heirs after you are gone and will serve the intentions by which you are gifting your property.