Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Q: Should I give my children their inheritance before I die?

New York and New Jersey estate planning attorneys know that everyone loves their children and wants the best for them. It’s what drives many parents to leave them a nice inheritance after they’re gone.

But is that the best—or only–strategy?

Some parents — who are fortunate enough to have the means to do so — are embracing a novel approach to estate planning in response to a book by a former Wall Street trader who revealed that he plans to spend down his entire retirement fund and won’t leave any of it to his children as an inheritance. No, he’s not cutting them off. In contrast, he plans to help them financially while they are younger and could use the money more.

Reasons to give children their inheritance while you are living

Some of the reasons that parents might want to give children some or all of their inheritance before they die include:

  • the joy of watching them spend it;
  • to help the children pay off college debt;
  • to help the children with a down payment on a home;
  • to help the children with unexpected medical expenses or debt;
  • to help the children afford to start a family;
  • to free up money to invest in their own retirement earlier so it can grow more.

While not everyone is in a position to do so, gifts to children during the earlier years– when they may be able to use it more– can be particularly helpful. A gift at any time will, of course, always be appreciated, but with people living longer, an inheritance may come a time when adult children have already raised their own children, planned for their own retirement, and have paid off their mortgages and other debts. A financial advisor and estate planning attorney can assist you in determining what’s best for your particular situation.

If you need help with an initial estate plan or would like to modify an existing one, the attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Staten Island, New York and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we help residents of both states in all aspects of estate planning and estate administration.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.