Estate planning is an interesting topic on a number of different levels, and there is more to it than meets the eye. When you are discussing your legacy with another human being the matter can get deeper than simple dollars and cents, and this is one of the reasons why it is important to feel very comfortable with your estate planning attorney. Different people communicate on different planes as it were, but let’s face it, talking about the end of your life, your death and how you will be remembering your loved ones is some pretty heady stuff.
When you are raising your children you understand from the start that unlimited financial giving its not always the best course of action. This carries over to estate planning, even when there are adults involved. Is inherited wealth a birthright? This is a question that has more than one answer, so we will only suggest that some people are rightfully concerned about doing more harm than good by leaving an heir a large sum of money that they did not earn.
If you felt like you wanted to address that concern and provide some depth to your inheritance plan you could consider the creation of incentive trusts. The blunt definition of an incentive trust could be “an inheritance with strings attached.”
With an incentive trust you place stipulations that stand between the beneficiary and the distributions. What the stipulations might be would vary depending on your objective. The possibility that is being tossed out here is the creation of an incentive trust that requires the beneficiary to engage in some act of public service as a stipulation for distributions.
The exact nature of the service could be carefully selected to teach a very specific lesson. The loved one that is bequeathed the trust may well find that the nature of his or her inheritance ultimately means more than they ever thought it would have when the big picture comes into focus.
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