How can I control my estate after distribution?

You are far from alone if you have suspicions your heirs might misuse the resources that you intend to leave to them. Many New York families have the same concerns, whether they stem from the immaturity of the beneficiaries, a known inclination towards a certain type of spending or even differing political views. Your assets represent your own hard work — and potentially that of your forbearers as well. Unfortunately, a will would simply bequeath assets in most cases, giving you no control over how they are spent, leveraged against or disposed of. 

One possible tactic to increase your control over your assets after your passing is to place your confidence in an individual or institution — to appoint a dutiful party to control your funds and carry out your intentions. Trusts are the documents that represent this type of agreement, and they are versatile tools for estate planning.

Time suggests several ideas you might want to employ in your own trust :

  • Stipulating achievements as prerequisites for receiving payment
  • Periodically paying out funds

The article does mention that you would not be able to require something illegal of your beneficiaries or make a demand that infringes upon their rights. The example given is one of political spending — it could be a violation of constitutional law to limit an heir’s ability to spend money on public campaigning or political contribution, for example. 

Restrictive wills and trusts are usually most likely to be upheld by courts if they are crafted for the benefit of the heirs and of the estate in general. Planning an estate with this understanding is often the best way to exert lasting control over the assets involved, even for generations to come. This article is not intended as legal advice, but rather to educate you. 

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