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Using trusts to address an heir's lack of prenuptial agreement

Oftentimes, there is crossover amongst areas of the law. A criminal charge, for example, may have a profound impact on family law matters like child custody. Since estate planning can encompass a wide swath of one's life, including business dealings and marital relationships, this type of crossover can be seen with some regularity when engaging in estate planning.

When it comes to the passing down of wealth, many see it as a legacy with heirs and beneficiaries to serve as stewards of that legacy. When one's child considers getting married, another party is brought into that stewardship picture. This gives many pause, as they don't want to jeopardize their estate. Sometimes this leads to a discussion about the child entering into a prenuptial agreement with his or her soon-to-be spouse. This is an effective way to ensure that the estate, once passed down, will remain within the family.

However, discussing a prenuptial agreement isn't always easy, and many choose to forego it altogether. When a child refuses to consider a prenuptial agreement and an estate planner feels that his or her estate is at risk as a result, then certain actions need to be considered. Perhaps the best amongst these is to utilize trusts to limit how the estate's assets will be distributed. Although one cannot force another to enter into a prenuptial agreement, a trust can restrict distribution of assets to a beneficiary in the event that he or she is not part of a prenuptial agreement. These prenuptial provisions can help ensure that an estate is redirected in accordance with one's wishes upon death.

Estate planning is all about control. But when potential heirs and beneficiaries threaten to draw that control into question, additional action needs to be taken. This is why it is often wise for those facing complex estate planning issues to discuss the matter with a qualified legal team, like the one at the Frankfort Law Group.

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