Monday, March 21, 2016

It is OK to treat your kids differently - but make the gift now to avoid controversy.


    In my 19th year of Estate Planning I am very comfortable saying that It is OK to treat your children differently.  It is also OK to give money to your spouse in a second marriage even though that means your kids will get less or even none. 

    But in order to avoid controversy I recommend that you make at least some of these gifts during your lifetime.  You can put someone on title to your real estate with you or open a joint account so that it goes directly to them at your death. 

    If you really want to avoid controversy you should tell your family members that you are doing this.  This will provide witnesses in case it is ever challenged later.   But this also allows you to defend the beneficiary you are trying to help.  We spend countless hours in Court proceedings arguing about what someone meant ... doesn't if make more sense to say it in your own voice while you can?

    I know that many Estate Planning attorneys will read the above and say this is very poor advice and that you are exposing yourself to the bad deeds or creditors of your kids if you put them on title with you and  that you need a fancy and complex A-B-C Trust to protect your surviving spouse and kids.  To this I say MAYBE‚Ķbut if you did not trust them you probably would not be thinking about lifetime gifts anyway. 


The Tonkovich Law Firm assists clients with Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, Conservatorship and Contested Probate Procedures and Business and Real Estate Litigation in Irvine, CA as well as El Toro, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Tustin, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Newport Coast, Ladera Ranch, Foothill Ranch, Mission Viejo, Laguna Woods, Corona Del Mar, Silverado, Orange, Laguna Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita amd Fountain Valley in Orange County.

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