Every family is unique, but there are invariably family members that like each other more than others.
If you have a poor relationship with your son-in-law or daughter-in-law, then you probably want to ensure that your child receives their full share of your estate without interference from their spouse.
For some families, the importance of this modification lies in making sure that cherished heirlooms remain with a family member who feels the same emotional attachment. For others, it is about handing down a precious piece of family history to someone in the family rather than someone who could remarry.
At the Reardon Law Firm, we understand the importance of making sure your grandmother’s china or your mother’s diamond earrings are kept in the family. Our San Diego firm works with families to ensure that their children’s inheritance is safe, no matter what happens.
Using a Trust to Specifically Transfer Wealth
The most foolproof way of protecting your child’s inheritance is to set up a trust.
A trust would be administered by a corporate trustee that would dispense funds at appropriate times for specific purposes, including:
- Maintenance, or
Because your child does not control the principal assets, they would only receive payments or other distributions when the trustee determines that such an outlay meets the terms of the trust’s stipulations.
You may help shield your child from undue influence from their spouse by setting up a trust so that it activates while you are still living or upon your passing. You may also specify that disbursements only go to rightful heirs if your child dies.
A Prenuptial Agreement Can Protect Your Child’s Interests
If you are concerned about what could happen to your child’s inheritance after they marry, then you could also encourage them to sign a well-crafted prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement may cover a variety of issues such as:
- How property is divided in a divorce or death
- What is considered marital property or personal property
- How property is bought, sold or otherwise used
In California, the prenuptial agreement must be a written document that is signed by both parties and notarized. Both spouses must sign voluntarily and have access to legal counsel prior to signing. The prenuptial agreement cannot include illegal or unfair requirements, or it would be unenforceable.
It is also possible to amend a prenuptial agreement after a wedding, but both parties must agree to the changes. If no prenuptial agreement was signed prior to the marriage, you may still be able to protect yourself with a postnuptial agreement.
It is usually important to hire an attorney to guide you through these legal procedures and ensure that any new contract is binding.
As your child will be the primary party in any prenuptial agreement, unlike in a trust, it is important to convince them of its necessity. Such a discussion can be unpleasant, but laying out your concerns in a frank, detailed manner may expedite the outcome you desire.
Hire an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
After a full, rewarding career as a Certified Public Accountant, Jennifer Reardon began a second career in estate law. Her vast personal life experience as well as years in finance and law have helped elevate the Reardon Law Firm to the foremost ranks of San Diego’s estate law firms. With her guidance, you can be certain that your family’s wealth will go to the ones you love.
Contact us today to discuss your estate planning options.