Menu ${}${SEMFirmNameAlt}${}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
Practice Areas
Let's Get Started!

Does your estate plan include your black sheep heir?

When parents have a substantial estate to leave to their heirs, they quite naturally want to structure their estate so that it isn't squandered. Sometimes this can be difficult when one or more of the children is financially irresponsible or somewhat of a "black sheep."

Parents' perceptions of their adult children's lifestyles are highly subjective, however. A child could be cast out of the family for something as banal as marrying someone of another race or faith. But other times, the rifts may run much deeper and be driven by unchecked substance abuse or a criminal lifestyle.

It's perfectly fine to refuse to support a loved one's self-destructive decisions, but sometimes parents feel bad about cutting a son or daughter off entirely. In those cases, parents may choose to set up a testamentary trust. There can be definite tax benefits with this option, which is another good reason to consider it.

These types of trusts are best administrated by an unrelated third party and not a sibling. Appointing one sibling to administer the trust for the other sets up a dynamic that can lead to resentment, arguments and even estrangement.

When there is disagreement between the parents over how to handle the estate, e.g., dad wants to disinherit the drug-addicted son, but mom does not, this will need to be addressed in the estate plan for both parents.

Depending on who predeceases whom, the estranged substance abuser may wind up with a windfall or with nothing at all. Another possibility may be to name the child as beneficiary of a small life insurance policy. Your estate planning professional can explain the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed choice.

Source: The Blunt Bean Counter, "Estate Planning for the Black Sheep Child," Mark Goodfield, accessed Nov. 18, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts

Waltham Office
375 Totten Pond Road
Suite 200
Waltham, MA 02451

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Waltham Law Office Map

Braintree Office
25 Braintree Hill Office Park
Suite 406
Braintree, MA 02184

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Phone: 617-523-1555
Braintree Law Office Map

Cranston Office
200 Midway Road
Suite 159
Cranston, RI 02920

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Cranston Law Office Map

Hyannis Office
1330 Phinney’s Lane
Hyannis, MA 02601

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Hyannis Law Office Map

Norwood Office
520 Providence Highway
Suite 10
Norwood, MA 02062

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Norwood Law Office Map

Westborough Office
276 Turnpike Road
Suite 228
Westborough, MA 01581

Westborough Law Office Map

Woburn Office
444 Washington Street
Suite 203
Woburn, MA 01801

Woburn Law Office Map