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Pocatello Estate Planning Leaving Incentives for Your Children

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

When most people think of estate planning they think of a last will and testament which is usually designed to give their property, money, and assets away to other people after they die. This is an important part of such a plan, but it is not the only reason for estate planning. Rather, a complete estate plan should also be used by the person creating it as a way of providing specific protections for themselves while they are alive. Additionally, estate planning can also be used as a way of providing incentives to a person’s children. It’s not uncommon for parents to want to find a way to help their children have a better opportunity of succeeding in life than they had.

At the Racine law office, our premier team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys has helped individuals and parents for over 70 years in creating customized estate plans to protect themselves and to provide opportunities for their children as well. Our team includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley, each of whom are highly skilled, and have the knowledge and experience necessary to answer your specific questions and help you with your customized estate plan.

There are always many questions when it comes to creating an estate plan that includes children. Our experience is that parents usually want the best things for their children. We have worked with many talented and thoughtful parents who determined that they didn’t want to just give their property and money directly to their children. Rather, these parents chose to provide incentives to their children through their estate planning. Below are a few things that you should consider if you too would like to use incentives for your children as a part of your Pocatello estate plan.

Why You may Want to Have Incentives for Your Children?

The first question to tackle here is why. Why would a parent want to create incentives for children as part of their estate plan? Parents know their children better than anybody else. Because of this, parents know, or at least could have a good idea of what would provide the best incentives for their children during the rest of their lives.

For some parents, it may be simply a matter of age. If you have young children and you want to provide for them if you were to pass away unexpectedly, incentives are a great way to continue to provide help and focus to your children as they mature. Alternatively, many parents have children who are already adults. These parents often want to incentivize their adult children to change their career, or to further their education, or to reach some other specific goal in their life that the parent believes would help the child.

Additionally, some parents have children who struggle with addictions such as alcohol or drugs. Or in a similar vein, some children struggle financially because they simply do not understand how to handle money properly or they may have some gambling addiction or other similar issue. A parent with a child having these kinds of issues may want to leave incentives that they believe will help their child rather than simply leaving an inheritance of property or money that may cause these problems to get worse.

As you can see, there are many reasons that a parent may want to provide incentives to their children. The reason for wanting to provide incentives really isn’t as important as what the incentive itself is designed to do. This leads to the next section of this article.

What Kinds of Incentives can You Leave?

As was set forth above, there are a number of reasons that a parent may want to provide incentives for their children. However, the real focus should be on what the incentive is actually going to be. Over the years, our experience has taught us that there are usually only a few specific incentives that parents want to provide to their children. Some examples of these incentives are described below.


The first common incentive that parents want to provide to their children, especially while they are young, is to get an education. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be a college graduate. Rather, most parents simply want their child to receive enough education so that they are capable of providing and caring for themselves financially during the rest of their lives. As a result, parents have used several different kinds of educational incentives as a part of their estate plan.

Regardless of whether your estate plan includes a last will and testament, or a trust, these documents can provide incentives for your children. For example, a parent can leave instructions in their estate planning documents that their child will receive a certain amount of money when they reach an appropriate age to receive higher education. Other parents will use a trust or other estate planning document to pay for tuition, books, housing, and other educational a work-related expenses without giving this money directly to the child. Still other parents will use a method of matching the amount of money a child receives as they are paying for their own higher education. Another example would be parents who have a specific amount of money that will go to a child once they obtain a degree or a certificate showing that they have completed the higher education program.


Another common use of incentives is in helping a child further their own career. Some parents will leave instructions in their estate plan that a certain sum of money is left to a child who desires to invest that money to create or start their own business. Another example of this would be a parent who leaves instructions in their estate planning stating that money left in a trust or other estate planning device is provided to the child once they reach certain levels of financial accomplishment. For example, a client could leave instructions that when their child has saved the sum of $100,000 that this sun will be matched from the estate planning trust or other device.

Financial Knowledge

Yet another common use of providing incentives is in helping children become financially knowledgeable. A parent could leave a certain sum of money that will be distributed to their child once the child has completed a financial course. I have had several clients leave trust to their children that will not be distributed until the children provide proof that they have completed the Financial Peace University course through the Dave Ramsey program.

Parents who use this type of incentive often told me that their main concern is that their children don’t know how to handle money. These parents specifically want to incentivize their children to gain the financial education the parents believe it will be necessary to help these children succeed financially throughout the rest of their life.

Regardless of your reason as a parent for wanting to use an incentive, it’s important to know that incentives can be a part of your Pocatello estate plan. We have assisted numerous parents and creating these types of incentives and we are confident we can help you too.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to Help You

Our experienced Estate Planning team of attorneys can help you and your family with your Idaho estate plan or with your probate needs. Whether you are seeking your own customized Estate Plan or need a Probate for a loved one who has passed, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson team. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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