For your heirs to receive their proper financial inheritance, parents develop an estate plan to do so. Many believe that it is so crucial to have the inheritance stay within the family because these are hard-earned assets, family businesses and family heirlooms. So, for some assurance to protect the kids’ inheritance from an event of untrustworthiness or divorce, there are several ways to make a plan to make sure the inheritance will remain in the family and generations to come.

Create a Trust:

A trust consists of three parties:

  1. Settlor, Trustmaker or Grantor (this role is the person creating the trust).
  2. Trustee (this person holds entity to the trust property for the beneficiary’s interest).
  3. Beneficiaries (this person benefits from the trust).

Choosing a trustee who is independent can be a great way to eliminate any arguments that one beneficiary has more control to receive assets than what is actually provided in the trust documents than other beneficiaries, a helpful situation when you have an untrustworthy son- or daughter-in-law.

Having a trust that last for the lifetime of the beneficiary and passing on the inheritance to the next generation of beneficiaries upon their death, would be known as the lifetime trust. It’s also known as “generation-skipping trust” and it is a great way to reduce or eliminate estate taxes. The assets in this type of trust are protected from commingling in the marriage so the spouse will not be able to pursue the inheritance in the event of a divorce.

 Use Prenuptial Agreements:

The use of a prenuptial agreement in trust is used as a tool for asset protection and the protection of inheritance from an untrustworthy spouse. This is a document that details an agreement between your child and his or her spouse about the characterization of assets owned at the time of marriage and those earned after marriage. This legal document binds the agreement upon division of assets in the event of a divorce. Each state varies and it is critical to seek appropriate legal advice from a legal professional before drafting and signing this type of document.

 Other Planning Ideas:

In addition to trust planning, it is important to let your wishes be known to the family. Having a family discussion about your estate plan would be a great way to make to make it clear to the people that matter to you. Explain what your intentions and wishes are as to why you chose to create an estate plan, and protect your loves ones from any conflict that may arise. Be sure to use clear language in the documents to specify the intent and purpose of leaving the inheritance to benefit descendants, not the spouses. Being clear about your intent will overcome some conflict or unforeseen circumstances that you may not have been expecting.

Bottom Line: Seek Out Estate Planning Help:

If you wish to make sure your descendants receive a portion of your estate, discuss these intentions with your children and devise an estate plan that will guarantee this desire is fulfilled after your passing. Whether you have no estate plan, or have one that more than a few years old, sit down with an estate planning professional to create or update this plan to suit your goals.

We at MMZ LAW understand the importance of protecting your assets and carrying out your wishes in a legal document. We know this is your LIFE and your LEGACY. Contact our Claremont office at 909-256-6702 to schedule a FREE consultation. We are located in the surrounding cities of Upland, Pomona and La Verne. We cover San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange Counties.



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of trust and estate, elder law, special needs, conservatorship, trust administration and probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont, but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.