What are the inheritance rights of heirs? Can you control the money that your heirs, including family members such as your spouse and children, are going to receive from you? The answer depends heavily on how you structure an estate plan.
If your estate plan is focused around a will, you should understand that the will is a document that transfers assets in the manner of a gift in the future. And when you give a gift, you cannot restrict what the recipient receives or how the recipient uses it.
It’s similar to how funds are transferred through a beneficiary designation. The plan custodian or brokerage will simply transfer the assets as directed by the beneficiary designation. Once that transfer occurs, there’s no further restriction on what happens with those assets.
What about situations where there is a joint bank account or financial account already in place? The account is jointly held by the grantor and the beneficiary. In this case, there probably won’t be any restriction on the inheritance rights of heirs – certainly not to the beneficiary using those assets now.
What estate planning does is that it affords an opportunity to implement a trust. Within a trust, you can restrict the age at which assets will be transferred along with the purposes for which they will be paid out. So if the intended beneficiary is either too young to receive assets directly or just does not have the financial sophistication and wherewithal to receive them outright, the trust provides a critically important vehicle.
If you have questions how to best structure your estate, feel free to contact us at Windy City Legal.