How Are My Assets Transferred In My Will?

Most people, when they traditionally think of a will, they think, “When I die, this is where my assets are going.” And that is in fact something that a will can do, but that’s not the only thing a will can do for you. The other thing that a will can do, is it can leave wealth with conditions. So, yes, the will can transfer your assets, but you can say how that happens.

What we typically see is if you have adult children, you trust those adult children, you can say, “Leave everything just outright to them. No rules attached, just leave them the money when I die.” But that’s not always the case. Maybe you have a child who is an alcoholic or a drug addict. We see that one, unfortunately, quite often. Or maybe you have minor children. They’re technically considered incapacitated people. We can’t just directly leave the money to them.

We can leave money with restrictions. An example would be for minor child, maybe they’re six years old, you’re not really sure what they’re gonna be like when they’re an adult. We can leave rules for the money for them.

An example would be, if I die, I’m leaving money to my children equally and they won’t get an outright distribution until, maybe, age 21. And you know what? At age 21, they’re still not mature enough to handle the money. So let’s give them, maybe, one-fourth at age 21, another fourth at age 25, another fourth at age 30, and then the remainder at age 35. You tell me what you would like for the distribution for your kids. So, in a will, we can leave money with restrictions like that.

One we’ve been seeing very often would be an educational restriction. A lot of people want their kids to go to college. Some don’t, but a lot of people do. So they’ll say to me, “Always use the money for my kid’s health, education, maintenance and support,” it’s a very broad standard that most attorneys use, “But don’t give them an outright distribution until they graduate from college.” So they graduate from college, maybe give them one half at that time and one half at 30. Or if they don’t graduate from college, give them one half at 30, one half at 35. It pushes out the distribution.

A last will and testament doesn’t just say, “This is where my money goes.” We can leave money with restrictions. We transfer the wealth, but we put some rules around it.

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