The estate planning steps that you take while alive may make it possible to exert a greater level of control over your assets from the grave. For instance, creating a pour-over will ensures that items held in your South Dakota estate will be put into a trust instead of going directly to beneficiaries. This may be ideal if you lack confidence in a child or grandchild’s ability to manage money or real property.
You decide how trust distributions are made
A trust’s language can be as broad or specific as you want it to be. For instance, you can stipulate that your son can only use his inheritance to buy a car or to pay for college expenses. In the same document, you can stipulate that your teenage daughter is to receive her inheritance when she turns 35 with no questions asked.
You can choose to keep assets in your estate
In some cases, a trust isn’t necessary to ensure that the right people receive important assets such as a house or a family business. Instead, you can simply declare in the will itself that your oldest daughter will receive the family home or that your youngest son will receive sole ownership of the family business. Taking such a step may allow you to preserve your legacy without adding extra layers of complexity to your estate plan.
Consider a no-contest clause
A no-contest clause can be an effective way of minimizing the risk of a legal challenge to your will. Typically, such a clause stipulates that anyone who challenges the will forfeits their inheritance. This may effectively prevent a scorned child or grandchild from taking steps to invalidate your estate plan.
An estate planning attorney may be able to help you create a will that meets your needs while also conforming with state law. Legal counsel may also be able to hold meetings with family members to ensure that they understand what your estate plan is supposed to accomplish.