Stipulations for Beneficiaries

Professor Beyer of the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog calls this subject “Strings on Testamentary Gifts.” And though the numbers of the PNC study are interesting and hint at a lack of hand-from-the-grave-control, most of the trusts that I see that have been drafted in the last few years contain some language, even if vague, regarding a benefactor/decedent’s wishes. Some of their wishes do not contain any specific stipulations or limitations but rather express their desires regarding the character of their beneficiaries with language similar to the following:

It is my hope that my children and my other lineal descendants will be productive, independent, and financially responsible individuals, and that they will become so primarily through their own abilities and efforts, not through the financial means provided by any trust established under this instrument. For this reason, after my death, I ask the Trustee to administer the trusts so as to encourage and foster, and not supplant, those abilities and efforts. Accordingly, the Trustee is authorized to …

I find this language (which is directory only, not mandatory) greatly increases my client’s peace-of-mind regarding their children’s/lineal descendent’s potential inheritance.

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