Who Should You Leave Assets To?
Deciding who to leave your estate to can be a highly personal decision. For some people, the choice is easy and they want their immediate family members to take everything. Others, especially those without biological heirs, may consider charitable giving or other options for all or part of their estate property. Whoever you leave your assets to, it is important that you talk to them first and make sure that they are also on board with your plan. Especially if you own assets that require care and maintenance, such as rental properties or pets, not everyone will be well equipped to receive such a gift without further guidance.
What Should I Consider Before Leaving Someone a Testamentary Gift?
Before you decide who to leave certain assets to, you will need to carefully consider how the beneficiary may react to or handle certain gifts. If you have precious family heirlooms, you will want to make sure that the person you leave them to shares your interest in keeping these items safe and in the family. Otherwise, there is a chance that the recipient could immediately sell or fail to care for these items. If that is not what you want, more careful planning may be required.
Or, if you own assets that require a lot of work to maintain, make sure your beneficiary is up to the task. If your nephew has no interest in farming but the family farm is important to you, it may make sense to find a charity or nonprofit that would put the land to good use. Otherwise, it is possible to use a trust or will to impose certain conditions regarding how your gift should be managed or cared for.
What About Leaving Money?
When it comes to leaving money, it is important to consider how your intended beneficiary might do with a lump sum. One need only look to how many lottery winners have fared to see the potential pitfalls of just giving someone a large amount of money at once. There are ways to distribute money over time, which might be better for some recipients.
You have the option of using a trust to make controlled distributions over time. This can mean that each beneficiary receives a predetermined amount of money at predetermined intervals. For example, you could say that each of your grandchildren should get $5,000 every year.
You can also condition distributions on other factors like age, achievements, or other milestones. For example, you can use a trust to make a posthumous wedding gift, or to make sure your younger beneficiaries have a little bit of money to get started when they graduate college. There are plenty of ways to protect your loved ones with controlled distributions.
Speak With an Illinois Estate Planning Attorney
If you would like further guidance and to begin creating an estate plan that protects your beneficiaries and property alike, Gierach Law Firm is here to help. Our experienced Naperville estate planning lawyers are skilled at creating wills and trusts that meet each client’s individual needs. Call us at 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation.
Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.