How Can a Spendthrift Provision Protect Your Heirs?

How Can a Spendthrift Provision Protect Your Heirs

The thought of leaving a nice inheritance for your loved ones may bring a smile to your face. However, for some, it may cause a few worry lines instead. When you take a realistic look at your heirs, do you see any who may not benefit from a lump sum inheritance? If so, can a spendthrift provision protect your heirs?

What is a spendthrift provision?

It’s part of a document, a trust for example, that protects money or property for a current or future beneficiary. A spendthrift provision may prevent the beneficiary from transferring or using the property. Typically, it also protects the property from creditors.

For example, Julia wants to leave money to her daughter, Jeannie. However, she knows that Jeannie is financially reckless and also about to divorce her husband. Julia can add spendthrift provisions to her Will and her trust that protect Jeannie’s inheritance for her.

What dangers can your heirs face?

Some of the dangers generate from the heirs themselves. The term spendthrift even means “a person who spends improvidently or wastefully.” A spendthrift heir might quickly waste a lump sum inheritance.

Other heirs may run up large debts they are unable to pay. Wills and trusts with spendthrift provisions protect your heirs from creditors. Since your heir cannot access the funds, creditors usually cannot seize them either.

Some heirs may be financially sound but work in professions at high risk for litigation. Money held by a spendthrift provision is generally protected from civil judgments.

How can I add a spendthrift provision to my estate plan?

The Florida statutes mention spendthrift provisions:

  • A valid spendthrift provision restrains voluntary and involuntary transfer of a beneficiary’s interest. This means neither the beneficiary nor most creditors can access funds held under a spendthrift provision.
  • The trust must state specifically that a beneficiary’s interest is held under a spendthrift provision.
  • Beneficiaries and creditors are prohibited from transferring trust interests until the beneficiary has received a distribution. In other words, once money leaves the trust and lands in the beneficiary’s bank account, it’s fair game for both the beneficiary and creditors.

When consulting with your attorney, talk about problems your beneficiaries may face.

Coordinate with an Estate Planning Attorney

As a Florida attorney board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates, Attorney John Mangan helps his clients develop estate plans that meet their needs. To schedule an appointment, call us at 772-324-9050 or fill out our Contact Form. Our office is conveniently located in Palm City, Florida. We also help clients throughout Florida, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.