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Can you choose how your heirs spend their money?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2023 | Trusts

If you use a will, it gives you the ability to decide who gets your assets. Consider your investments or other financial assets, for example. You can use the will to state which heirs are supposed to inherit this money and you can divide up the percentage that is given to different beneficiaries. 

However, a will does not give you the ability to decide how they will use the money that you’re leaving them. For instance, you may want them to use it to pay for a college education. Your heir, on the other hand, may want to use the money simply to travel the world or to take a year off from working. You may not approve of these uses, but you cannot control how they spend the money after you leave it to them. It could even be lost in divorce or to creditors.

Using a trust

If you do want to dictate how your heirs are going to spend your money, the way to do it is by using a trust. You can put the money in the trust and specify when they will get it, what it can be used for and things of that nature. For instance, you may want to delay the date at which they receive it until they are in their 30s, or you may want to specify that they have to use the money for college before anything else.

You can also use a trust simply to give the trustee the power to decide how the money is used. This is known as a discretionary trust. It allows you to appoint someone who you think will make better decisions with your money than your heir actually would.

Setting up a trust can be complicated, but you can see that there are a lot of advantages. Be sure you know about all of the legal options at your disposal.