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  • Writer's pictureNicole J. Zuvich

Can your estate plan handle a financially irresponsible child?

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Many Americans seem to have an obsession with spending money they do not have. In fact, according to reporting from CNBC, U.S. households accumulated more than $1 trillion in debt in 2021 alone. For you, though, becoming financially stable has involved working hard and saving money.

Before taking on debt, you carefully weigh the advantages and drawbacks. Unfortunately, your adult child does not demonstrate nearly as much financial responsibility. While you may not be able to pass your financial know-how onto your child, you can use your estate plan to provide for him or her in a responsible way.

Limits on access to funds

You do not want a financially irresponsible person to burn through your hard-earned assets. You also love your child and do not want him or her to struggle. With a spendthrift trust, you protect your wealth without hanging your son or daughter out to dry.

When you set up a spendthrift trust, you set precise limits on how much your child may withdraw from the trust. This, of course, may teach your son or daughter some important lessons about financial responsibility without completely taking away his or her safety net.

Protection for your child’s creditors

If your child has a history of being financially irresponsible, he or she already may have accumulated considerable debts. By placing money into a spendthrift trust for your child’s benefit, you protect your assets from his or her creditors. That is, your child’s creditors likely cannot go after funds in the trust.

Ultimately, by establishing a spendthrift trust, you may protect your legacy while helping your child thrive for the rest of his or her life.

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