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Leaving your Legacy: Preserving Values & Protecting Inheritances

Routinely, attorneys develop a myopic view of estate planning.   They are guided by the principle goal of passing as much wealth to the next generation as tax-free as possible.   While “financial wealth transfer” can, and should, be one of the goals – it should not be the primary goal.  Rather, the primary goal should be the preservation of the client’s values and the corresponding protection of the client’s intended beneficiaries. 
Most people have definite convictions as to how they would like their beneficiaries to use their inheritance.  Similarly, there is usually a strong desire to protect the beneficiary’s inheritance from outside forces, like “creditors and predators.”
A comprehensive estate plan addresses many of the following family maintenance and protection issues:

  • Who could best serve as the “back-up parents” for minor children, providing the necessary care, love and nurturing environment;
  • How could “continuing trusts” be utilized to safeguard inheritances for minor beneficiaries or other beneficiaries who lack the ability to manage their inheritance;
  • How can inheritances for adult beneficiaries be held in trust so as to protect the beneficiaries from the potential future divorces, lawsuits, creditors and predators;
  • What types of activities, life styles, work ethics, etc. are your clients desiring to incent;
  • How can you minimize the potential risk of “affluenza” for beneficiaries who are going to receive sizeable inheritances;
  • What if the intended beneficiaries have (or may develop) “special needs” or disabilities.

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