You’ve spent your entire life building up your retirement account. It may even be the biggest asset you’ll leave behind for the people you love.
If that’s the case, you may want to consider creating a special trust designed specifically to receive your retirement account assets in the event of your death.
If you leave your retirement account to the people you love outright, simply by naming them as beneficiaries on your retirement account rather than through a special trust, here are the risks:
1. Some studies indicate 80% of retirement account beneficiaries immediately liquidate the account and frivolously spend the assets (and on top of using the assets in ways you may not agree with, they also lose significant tax benefits for these assets you worked so hard to create);
2. If your beneficiary is married and does not properly handle the retirement assets you leave behind, and then gets divorced, your hard-earned assets could end up in the hands of the future ex-spouse of your beneficiary;
3. If you are in a second marriage situation with children from a prior marriage, you may be setting your spouse and children up for conflict after you are gone, due to the way you have planned (or not planned) for the passage of your retirement account.
4. If your beneficiary is ever in a situation where he or she has creditors or may have to file bankruptcy, and you’ve left your retirement account to him or her without a special trust, your retirement account would go to satisfy those creditors first.
Here’s the good news, it’s not hard to protect your retirement account for your beneficiaries with the right planning. We use a variety of special trusts to ensure the retirement assets you’ve worked so hard to build up throughout your life are passed on to the people you love so they are totally protected from a future divorce, creditors, bankruptcy and so that they do not create conflict for your loved ones.
If you have a significant retirement account whose designated beneficiary is your spouse or children, or even your regular revocable living trust, call us to have your planning reviewed immediately.
This article is a service of Marc J. Schwartz, Personal Family Lawyer,® who develops trusting relationships with families for life. If you’re ready to begin planning what you’d like to happen in case of unfortunate emergency, or even your death, schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session™ today. We can help you make plans for how you want to provide for your loved ones when you can’t be there. Normally, a Family Wealth Planning Session™ is $750, but when you mention this article and are one of the first three families to book an appointment this month, we’ll waive that fee.