Creating beneficiaries with conditions

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2020 | Estate Planning And Probate

Each estate plan in the state of Minnesota is unique to the person who creates it. When a person makes an estate plan, they think about who they want to receive their assets. However, creating the right estate plan is often not as simple as choosing whom the person wants to receive financial accounts or sentimental items when they pass.

When a person does their estate planning, they don’t know the future. Without knowing what is to come, they cannot create a perfect estate plan. However, one thing that a person can do is create a will or trust that leaves assets to their heirs on a conditional basis.

For example, it’s common for parents to leave assets to their children under the control of a custodian. The assets may be placed in a trust, and the child may not have control of the funds until they reach a certain age. The age does not necessarily have to be the age of majority. Some parents and grandparents do not grant a child full access to the total funds until age 25 or 30.

In addition, a person may grant an asset to an heir for a specific purpose. For example, they might grant a person assets to be used for education. They might set up the funds to take care of basic living expenses if they have concerns about how the beneficiary might use the funds without direction.

An individual has a great deal of discretion when they create their estate plan. However, the wording of the estate plan is extremely important. In any situation where a person grants an asset conditionally, the terms, conditions and contingencies must be clearly spelled out. Ambiguities can create discrepancies that may ultimately result in the person’s wishes not being honored. Careful work to create the right estate plan with the help of an attorney may result in documents that are clear and legally enforceable to the benefit of both the drafter and their heirs.