I was working with a couple recently out of our Baton Rouge office regarding their estate legal program for their family. They have five grown children. As every parent knows, each child is different. They had three children that were successful professional and had the financial maturity and responsibility to manage an inheritance well. But they had two children that, as the couple says, would, “blow their inheritance as soon as they get it. Both of these daughters were unmarried, and the couple was worried that a future boyfriend or husband may want to latch on to the daughters for the wrong reasons in order to “get to their inheritance.”
Children Can't Inherit in a Lump Sum
The couple decided that it would be best for these two daughters, after the couple dies, to receive a monthly distribution from a trust so that these daughters would be “protected from themselves.” So we discussed the arrangements where two of the “responsible children” would serve as “co-trustees” after the couple passes away, and then the co-trustees would dole out the inheritance to the two daughters monthly instead of in a lump sum. The couple felt really good about how they were protecting their daughters.
But then the question came up, “Do you want to treat all of your children the same way from an inheritance standpoint? Or do you want to treat your two daughters (who will get their inheritance over many years) different from the way you leave the inheritance to the
Treat Children Same or Different?
After much discussion, the couple decided that they did not want to have an estate legal program that treats each child differently, even though the children have different needs and are at different financial maturity levels. The wife stated, “You know Mr. Rabalais, it’s just not right to restrict certain children from getting their inheritance all at once while leaving other children the freedom to have their inheritance immediately. Let’s treat all of our five children the same way so that they all get an income stream over their lifetime. That’s the right thing to do for OUR family.”
When you have certain children who would benefit from having their inheritance set up a “special” way, you have a decision to make. Do you treat all of your children exactly the same way from an inheritance standpoint, or do you restrict certain children from receiving their inheritance at once, but allow others to have theirs. There is no right or wrong decision here – it’s a personal decision on your part based on your background, relationships, observations, and personal feelings that you have toward your family.
Establish Your Louisiana Estate Planning Program
Our job at Rabalais Estate Planning is to take our decades of experience helping Louisiana families provide for the right kind of disposition to their family while avoiding difficulty, taxes, and family conflict. When you are ready to have a conversation about how to leave what you have to your family the right way, give us a call at 866-491-3884. Look forward to speaking with you.