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Placing limits on beneficiary spending

When New York residents are going through the estate planning process, they often decide to leave money to designated beneficiaries. However, those who are leaving money to future generations may wish to control how that money is spent. For instance, a parent may not want an inheritance used to support a political candidate or cause that he or she disagrees with.

Perhaps the best way to restrict how an inheritance is spent is to create a trust. The trust may contain restrictive language as long as it doesn't break the law. It may allow a parent to stipulate, for example, that money given to a child after the parent passes away is only used to make rent payments or used to pay for college tuition. Doing so may sufficiently limit how the money is used without running afoul of free speech or any other laws.

While it may be possible for an individual to exert some control over his or her money after death with a trust, there are still limitations. For instance, the beneficiary can use personal funds to support a political cause or any other cause that a parent or anyone else doesn't agree with. Those who study estate planning issues say that part of letting go is understanding that it is impossible to change a person's attitude regardless of the limitations put in place.

Creating a trust may have many benefits for both the grantor and for the beneficiaries. A trust may avoid probate, which may help settle the estate in a timelier manner. Furthermore, the contents of the trust may be kept out of the public record, which may help protect a family's privacy. An attorney may be able to help a client create a trust or to conduct a periodic review of an existing one.

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