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Saturday, June 29, 2013

More heirs wait as wills dole out estate money slowly

A recent article in the Financial Post talks about the fact that more and more parents are leaving their estates in trusts for their children to receive not at age 21, but at age 30 or older.  Click here to read the article.

I can confirm that in my work I see a lot of parents who want to set up trusts just like those mentioned in the article. Sometimes it's because they are concerned about the matters discussed in the article, such as their kids' ability to manage money. However, I find that a lot of parents are worried more about the divorce rate. They want to ensure that if their children should get divorced that the son-in-law or daughter-in-law won't walk away with half of the inheritance.

And yes, I know that inherited funds are considered exempt from division of matrimonial property in theory, but in reality it's not that easy to separate inherited funds when they have been put into assets owned by both spouses.

Holding an inheritance in a separate trust until the child is, say, 35, ensures that the money is not in the child's name and simply cannot be accessed by a divorcing spouse.

I don't worry about whether this attitude is cynical or not. Approximately half of marriages end in divorce, or so I'm told, and you can't argue with the statistics. It makes sense to my clients to plan around reasonable eventualities, including divorce.

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