VanNess & VanNess, P.A.
352-436-4333

Keeping wealth in the family

Florida residents who are creating an estate plan might be concerned about keeping the wealth in the family and protecting it in case one of their children gets a divorce. The first step may be to simply to discuss the estate plan and the need to preserve wealth with family members. Children may want to get a prenuptial agreement before they marry that specifies that the inheritance is not marital property, but a prenup must be entered into freely.

Another option might be for children to avoid mixing the inheritance with other marital property. They should keep the inheritance in a separate account, but they should also avoid using it for joint purchases. For example, buying a home or doing home renovations with part of the inheritance could result in it being seen as marital property in case of a divorce.

People could set up a trust and put additional restrictions on it that make it more difficult for the child or the child's spouse to access. For example, they could make the timing of the receipt of distributions to be linked to the achievement of specified milestones. Trusts can also be created specifically to last through several generations.

An attorney could assist a client who is creating an estate plan in understanding the many ways that a trust can be used. In addition to having rules that control how assets are distributed to beneficiaries, trusts can be set up to care for a family member with special needs, to keep a house's value down and to make charitable donations among many other functions. Another important aspect of estate planning is a power of attorney that will give a trusted individual the authority to make certain decisions in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated and is unable to do so.

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