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Can your beneficiaries sell off their inheritances?

You’ve worked so hard over the years to build your estate and legacy. Understandably, you may have specific intentions for how your assets should be used. For instance, you might be concerned about your hard-earned assets changing hands after you are gone. What if there is something, like a business or cherished property, that you want to remain in the family?

The reality is that the beneficiaries of your will generally have the freedom to do as they please with their inheritance. As the legally recognized owners, this includes the option to sell off assets if they want to. However, you can take strategic steps during your estate planning to help protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are respected.

Communicate with your beneficiaries

Discuss your intentions and expectations with your beneficiaries regarding the use and preservation of their inheritance. Communicating your wishes can help align your heirs’ actions with your desires. It’s important to note that your instructions or wishes are not legally binding and could be degraded, necessitating further measures to safeguard your assets.

Establish trusts

Consider setting up a trust with specific terms and conditions dictating how assets are to be managed and distributed. As legal entities separate from the beneficiaries, trusts can provide added protection and control over your assets even when you are no longer around. Trust assets belong to the trust — not its beneficiaries — and cannot be transferred or sold to third parties while they’re still in the trust.

The intricacies of estate planning can be complex, and seeking legal guidance to understand the various options available to protect your assets is essential. A comprehensive, well-structured and legally sound estate plan will also give you added peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out when the time comes.