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Protecting your legacy

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Many parents hope to leave a parting gift for their children after they’ve gone, but how can you be sure they will use their inheritance the way you intended? According to a recent study, nearly half of respondents said they were worried about their heirs being prepared to handle their inherited wealth. If you can relate to this estate planning concern, there are simple strategies that can help ensure that the funds you leave behind will be used wisely.

Structure an inheritance

When planning the transfer of assets, some people may worry that their heirs will not make good financial decisions if the inheritance is collected all at once. On the other hand, some may want to contribute to their children’s or grandchildren’s future, like funding a college education, wedding or other milestone event. Additionally, some may want to provide for a child or grandchild with special needs.

Since every situation is different, talking to an estate planning attorney can make sure the assets are dispersed to a loved one the way the grantor intends. For instance, setting up a trust can allow you to be specific on how and when resources are distributed, including limiting annual distributions or designating a trustee to manage the assets for a child or grandchild.

You may include a provision that requires an heir to reach a certain age before they receive any assets, or you can specify approved uses for those funds. Perhaps you only want benefits to go toward educational expenses, such as tuition and books. Outlining this in the trust can help you protect your legacy, while giving a loved one valuable assets for their future.

Explore other financial tools

Another way to add more control to inherited funds is through an insurance product like an annuity. By listing a loved one as a beneficiary, you’re able to assign who will receive the remaining annuity payments after you pass or you can choose a death benefit option. Oftentimes, you can determine how funds are received, whether it is through regular payments for a period of time, or the payouts can be deferred until a certain date. Through this guaranteed source of funds, you can offer greater financial stability and security to your beneficiary.

Seek guidance in estate planning

Creating a solid estate plan is important no matter your age, income or assets. Clearly outlining how you want your loved ones to receive inherited wealth can not only help alleviate financial stress or confusion following your passing, but can allow you to protect your legacy and ensure your final wishes are honored. Partnering with a financial professional and estate planning attorney can provide helpful guidance throughout the process and allow you to navigate legal and financial documents, asset allocation and estate taxes more successfully.


The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult with your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor or tax advisor prior to investing.

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