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Preventing a child's spouse from getting an inheritance

Some Florida parents who are drafting estate planning documents may want a way to prevent their children's spouses from getting the money. Technically, leaving an inheritance to a child does not necessarily mean their spouse also gets the inheritance. However, if the two divorce, the spouse might be able to get a portion of the inheritance. This may depend upon the state they live in and whether it is commingled with marital assets.

Even if there is not a divorce, it is likely that the spouse will benefit from the inheritance. One solution might be to set up a trust. The owner of the trust can set the parameters, and those parameters can include ensuring that there is no benefit for the spouse. The disadvantage is that the money is left to the trust and not the child, and so the child does not enjoy the full benefit.

People who are concerned about a child's spouse having access to money might also consider what they want to do about leaving money to grandchildren. If the grandchildren are minors, an adult will probably need to take care of the money until they are over 18. The money can be placed in a trust and a trustee named who is not the parent if this is a concern.

Comprehensive estate planning often entails complex questions like this. If there are family members that people do not want to leave an inheritance to and that is likely to create a conflict, they may want to consider having someone who is not a family member or even a professional such as an attorney be the executor of the will. This can be a stressful position at the best of times, and a disinterested party who is not part of the family may be the best choice.

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