Who should get your assets?

Do you want to play stump the estate planning attorney? Just ask me who should inherit your assets.

If you ask me who should get your assets, I could tell you my answer: that choice belongs to the people who earned the assets in the first place, and that’s not me. Here’s kind of a common example: let’s say you own a small business or a farm, you have two kids in their 20’s, one of them is involved in this small business or day to day operations of the farm, the other lives a couple states away. So, you run by me the idea (you’re maybe a little embarrassed about it) that you’re going to give more of the business or the farm to the child who is involved. Then you ask me is it fair to do that? It’s the same answer, right?

It may be a little frustrating, but what I’m going to say is: “what’s fair is what you decide … these are YOUR assets. I may give you additional ideas on different ways you can reward a child’s involvement or ways you might get that child a First Option or first choice at a given asset, and then maybe with the others substantially equivalent value some other way. Or not. YOUR estate plan doesn’t have to be equal; that is your choice. Or we might even talk about business succession and how the child who is involved might begin vesting in or gaining ownership of the business during your lives.

I look at my position this way: I need to present you all kinds of options so that you aren’t restricted in how you think you can pass those assets to your children or grandchildren, or whomever you’ll leave things to. I tell people that if if we can think of it, I can write it. If it’s a legal method, we will get it in your trust. I’ll try to present to you all kinds of ideas so that you know it’s a broad-spectrum of what you can do.

Yes, if you or we can think of it, we can write it. It is as simple as that. Who should get your assets? They are your assets; you decide.

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