DO YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE YOUR CHILDRENS’ AND GRANDCHILDRENS’ INHERITANCE CONDITIONAL ON THEM DOING THINGS YOUR WAY?
In thirty years as a lawyer, I have had very few estate planning clients suggest conditioning gifts to their progeny on the kinds of restriction described in a recent Wall Street Journal article, excerpted and linked at the Taxprof Blog. I can’t recall a client ever even suggesting that a gift should be conditioned on marrying within the family’s faith tradition, for example. I agree that those kinds of conditions can have detrimental unintended effects.
When a client suggests that gifts should be conditioned on specific future events or activities, I typically simply point out that it’s impossible to predict the future, and equally impossible to even know what circumstances might exist at the future time when those conditions will have to be applied. Usually, the client will agree that they don’t want to put the person who would have to enforce those conditions in what might be an untenable position.
My motto is: keep it simple.
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