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4 Suggestions About Leaving an Inheritance

Over the years of helping clients create their own customized Idaho estate plans we often have discussions about leaving an inheritance to others. We've come to realize that for many people receiving an inheritance is a lot like winning the lottery. Our goal in assisting our clients is to help them come up with a plan that will help the individuals receiving the inheritance so that it actually does help them.

To assist our clients in completing their own customized estate plans we have created a team of attorneys that specializes in Idaho estate planning. At the Racine Law Firm our estate planning team includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley, who have each received the highest reviews possible from clients they have assisted over the years.

Through our experience in helping our clients we have seen many plans that provide an inheritance to others that works very well. Alternatively, we have seen some plans that were not well thought-out or well done that did a poor job of leaving an inheritance to others. Based upon our experiences here are 4 specific suggestions we can give you about leaving an inheritance.

Don't Leave Money Directly to Minors

If your estate planning includes a Last Will and Testament or a Trust that names individuals who are under the age of 18 as heirs you should take some specific care in how you leave money, assets and or property to these individuals. The number one piece of advice we give to our clients is that they should never leave money or other property in their estate planning directly to minors. Additionally, we caution our clients about leaving property or money to any individual who is Young even if they are considered an adult.

In Idaho, and adult is any person who is over the age of 18. However, most people would agree that an 18 year old individual, who is legally an adult, likely does not have the experience or maturity to be able to handle a large sum of property or money. For this reason, we strongly suggest that any inheritance that would be left to a person who is under the age of 18 be put into a trust and held until they reach an age where our client believes they would be mature enough to handle the inheritance.

Remember, the overall goal here is to help the individual who is receiving the inheritance. What we do not want to do is create a situation where we are causing problems, or hurting the individual who is receiving the inheritance. So suggestion number one, don't leave money or property directly to minors.

Make Specific Gifts

The next suggestion is also fairly simple. When leaving an inheritance for an individual we always suggest that the gifts being made should be very specific. Oftentimes our clients have property that may not only be valuable but may also have significant sentimental value. For instance, a grandfather may want to leave a specific gun, or a coin collection, or other item to a specific grandson or some other specific individual. This can only be accomplished if the estate plan has language in it that unequivocally declares that these items are being given to that specific individual and to no one else.

We always council our clients to be very specific in the gifts they are giving. By doing this there is no confusion about who is receiving that gift as a part of their inheritance.

No Strings Attached

Another important suggestion that we make to our clients is that the gifts they give to others should have no strings attached. This is not to say that our clients cannot use incentives in their estate planning for the individuals they are giving their estate too. In fact, we often encourage that parents or grandparents use incentives when providing an inheritance to their children or grandchildren. Incentives are different than strings. An incentive simply states that once you have reached the requirement the gift is then freely given to the recipient. The use of incentives is discussed in a different web page that you can find on this website.

When we talk about giving a gift with no strings attached what we are really saying is that the individual receives the gift free and clear as part of their inheritance without requiring them to continue to accomplish or do some specific act or thing. Alternatively when strings are attached it usually comes with moral restrictions. For instance some clients they say that if their child marries an individual who is not of the same faith as the parent, the child will receive no inheritance.

Usually we find that when strings are attached it is simply a way for a parent to restrict the lives of their children. Incentives on the other hand are used as a way of encouraging children to do more things with their lives. Our recommendation is that gifts given in an estate plan should have no strings attached.

Consider Giving Gifts to Others While You are Alive

The final suggestion we often give to our clients when it comes to leaving an inheritance for their family or others is that they should consider giving these gifts away while they are actually alive. If our client doesn't need the asset, or money, or property, they will get much more satisfaction by giving that property or money away while they are alive. This gives them the ability to see the recipient actually use the property or money. This kind of arrangement is often very gratifying. Our clients often report that they are so glad they gave that property or money away while they are alive rather than waiting until they died.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning needs including creating a plan to provide an inheritance for others. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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