Estate planning decisions can be difficult to make, particularly if you have a potential heir whom you feel does not deserve to be included, or who will squander the inheritance. If you have a grandchild (or child) who falls into this category, making the decision to cut him or her out of your Last Will and Testament can be heart wrenching.
Estate assets typically fall into one of two categories – cash or liquid assets and sentimental or personal assets. Leaving either type to a grandchild can be a cause for concern. Cash can be mismanaged and sentimental assets can be under-appreciated. If you have a grandchild who you feel lacks the ability to manage liquid assets, and lacks the respect needed to appreciate personal assets, it can put you in a very difficult position. You do, however, have options.
While there is no realistic way to force a child or grandchild to appreciate sentimental assets, there is a way to prevent mismanagement of other assets. Creating a trust offers you the ability to appoint a trustee who will oversee the management of the trust assets, ensuring that they will not be squandered.
Moreover, you can include trust terms that will effectively allow you a significant amount of continued control over the assets even after they have been transferred to the trust. You can decide when assets are distributed to the beneficiary, how much each disbursement will be, and what the funds can be used for if you choose to be that specific.
Before you go to the extreme of disinheriting a grandchild, talk to your estate planning attorney about other options first.