Monday, December 19, 2022
Imposing conditions on your loved ones during the estate planning process can be helpful, so long as they are reasonable. Overly burdensome conditions can lead to disastrous results, so conditions need to be clear, measurable, and practical to help protect estate plans and beneficiaries.
Conditions, such as putting an age requirement on a child’s ability to assume the role of executor, can be practical. Representatives of estates must be legal adults, and measuring age is easy to do. However, when requirements become more complex, like requiring college attendance and imposing GPA requirements, measuring the outcome can be difficult. What if, instead of entering a traditional university, the child enters a trade school or military service? Or perhaps they choose a major where earning high marks is difficult to do?
Other conditions, like implementing the HEMS standard (health, education, maintenance, and support) are common and considered relatively clear and measurable. Conditions like, distributions being made upon the beneficiary becoming a parent are too complex. What if they become a step-parent, or are unable to have children? When conditions are overly limiting it can be settling the estate too complicated and time-consuming, and lead to resentment on behalf of family members.
For more information see Allison L. Lee “Is it OK to Rule From the Grave?”, Kiplinger, November 4, 2022
Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.