Can I keep my ex-spouse from inheriting my estate
and yet still take care of my kids when I die?
Yes. This is why a will and particularly a trust
are so important. Your ex-spouse may very well be appointed guardian
of your minor children. If you have no will, your kids will inherit
your estate when you die. But if they are under age 18, your ex-spouse
- as guardian - will have control of your money.
If you have a will, you can create a testamentary
trust to hold your estate for your children until they reach majority
(or even older) so that your ex-spouse never touches the money you
want your children to receive. This can also be accomplished with
the use of a living trust.
Likewise, providing for a second spouse and still
protecting assets for your children can easily be accomplished through
either a testamentary or living trust. You can provide as much or
as little for your spouse as you wish for his or her lifetime (subject
to his or her statutory rights to take a certain share of your estate).
Because the assets are in trust, he or she can benefit from them
but not control them. You, not your spouse, control the final disposition
of the assets. Your trust can provide that when your spouse dies,
the balance will pass to your children or issue or it could be held
in further trust for them. Your children or issue could even be
beneficiaries of the trust while your spouse is living, if you wish.
However, if tax planning is a concern, there are certain restrictions
that must be taken into account.
The above statements pertain to Massachusetts Law
and are meant to describe in a very general way techniques available
for you to plan your estate in a manner that saves you money and
reduces estate taxes. For a specific complimentary consultation
or to obtain a fee quote please call our
office at 617-479-4300.