Our children mean everything to us. We watch them grow and develop from babies into little people with personalities and opinions. We see ourselves in them and take pride when we see them implement lessons we’ve taught them. We want them to have good lives and don’t want them to ever financially struggle. However, we are also well aware of the other side of that: parents who enable children by spoiling them and who write checks whenever their children harm others.
Beyond not wanting to spoil our children, we want to instill the value of hard work and the pride of making it on their own. When it comes to estate planning, this is a very common consideration, one that must be delicately balanced. The last thing any parent wants to do is leave their child in a position where they have no motivation to get a job or become a productive member of society. Here are some options that you may think about before speaking with an attorney.
- Instilling values in your children by example. This means having difficult conversations with your child, saying “no”, and putting your foot down. Simply put, children learn by example and only have as much money as you give them. If you give them everything they want, no matter how they behave or even if they’re lazy and flunk out of school, you are enabling them to have no value for hard work. If your child gets arrested, and you buy them a new car because you don’t want to see them sad, then no amount of estate planning will prevent them from wasting every cent they get their hands on.
- Leaving a fixed, moderate amount of money for your child in your will. You can leave your child with enough money or assets to cover their living expenses for a few years. Doing so will compel them to complete their educations and seek employment to care for themselves once the money runs out. This may seem extreme, but having an open and honest discussion with your child about this plan may bring about some positive change in the way your child works toward their future.
- Leaving a condominium or house to your child. Setting your child up with a home would greatly alleviate their monthly expenses as they would have no mortgage payment. However, they would still be financially responsible for paying property taxes, homeowners insurance, and utilities. That is income they will need to generate on their own. In addition, the real estate is a significant asset.
- Establishing a trust. This is a popular option for people with large estates, as you can put specific conditions and limitations on what your child has to do to receive money. It also allows you to designate a trustee to make sure that your child is abiding by those conditions. Further, a trust allows you to spread payments and distributions to your child over a specified duration.
Your children are important to us, and we want to help you plan for their future. For decades, I have assisted clients in estate and tax planning for estates of all sizes and complexities. My team and I will provide you with compassionate, thorough guidance so that you can feel comfortable making informed decisions. Contact the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas by phone at 847-392-5893 or visit our website to set up a consultation.