When Should Children Receive an Inheritance?

POSTED ON: June 1, 2021
CATEGORY: Estate Planning
children inheritance
Is it better to help your children when you’re still alive? Or wait until after you die?

Should an inheritance remain an inheritance, given to children only after their parents die, or should parents use some of the money to help their kids out while they are still living? That’s a question that many families grapple with, says Jerry Taylor of Jerry Taylor Law in Fairhope, Alabama.

Not every family can afford to give their children an advance on their inheritance, but for those who can, there are some things to consider:

Some financial advisors believe that “gifting with warm hands” is a better way to go. Parents can enjoy seeing their children and grandchildren benefit from having the help, based on when it is needed. Decoupling an inheritance from parental death is a happier scenario than the alternative.

Others believe that current financial needs, taxes and the tax situations of the parents and children ought to be the deciding factor. First, is there enough money for the parents to live comfortably in retirement? That includes being prepared for the cost of an unexpected health crisis that might lead them to need short- and long-term care. Follow that by understanding the tax situation of both parents and heirs. Once those answers are fully formed, then a discussion about gifting can move forward.

Another school of thought is to stop saving every penny and enjoy life to its fullest right here, right now. Some people are more concerned with maxing out their 401(k) plans than enjoying their lives. A healthy balance between protecting assets for later years, creating wealth for the next generation and having some fun too is the goal for many families.

Regardless of how you see your situation, one thing is sure: if you have any concerns about how your children will handle an inheritance, make a gift while you are living. You’ll get to see how they handle it, responsibility or recklessly. This may inform your planning for the future, including the use of spendthrift trusts.

The pandemic has forced many people to confront their own mortality and consider how they really want to spend the rest of their lives, as well as their assets. Many parents are preparing to make changes in their estate and gifting plans to accommodate needs that have arisen as a result of COVID’s economic impact.

Talk with your children about finances—yours and theirs. Discuss their needs and their inheritance, especially if they have been unemployed for an extended period of time. If they need money for something critical, like paying for health insurance or catching up on student loans, the gift should be made with a clear understanding of its intended purpose.

Jerry Taylor Law can help create a plan that works while you are living and after you have passed. Trusts may be a strategic plan for sharing assets while you are alive, with some tax advantages.

 

Join Our eNewsletter
Subscribe to our FREE eNewsletter and Blog Article Updates
Book a Consultation
Schedule an available time to speak with Attorney Jerry Taylor

Recent Posts

power of attorney

What Should I Know about Powers of Attorney?

Many people have signed at least one power of attorney in their life. A power of attorney, which names a trusted family member, friend or advisor as your “attorney-in-fact” to control your assets, is meant to be used, if you are incapacitated.

Read More »

Client Success Stories:
Our Happy Clients