With Grandchildren, Money Left May Be Money Spent

All of your life, you’ve worked hard to save your assets and put money aside. Now that you’re writing out your estate plan, you want to leave some of that money to your grandchildren.

You have some big plans for them. For instance, maybe you know about the crippling rise in student debt, so you want to leave them money to pay for tuition. Or, maybe you know that it’s very hard to start a new business without money, so you want to leave them money to get a company off the ground after they graduate from college and start a career.

Essentially, you have worked hard so that you can improve their lives. Now it’s time to do it.

One note of caution is that, as some experts put it, “money left is usually money spent.” If you leave a child $100,000 in your will and tell them to use it for college, are they really going to do it? Or are they just going to make irresponsible choices at a young age — think of yourself at that age — and waste the money you worked for so long to save?

There are solutions to this problem. Many people turn to trusts, rather than leaving money directly to their grandchildren. With a trust, they can make sure the money gets used in the fashion that they want it to be used. Others at least delay the age at which the grandchildren get the money so that they’ll make more responsible decisions. Be sure you know about the options you have.