Planning For Beneficiary Gone Bad – Lessons Learned From Got

Hi there, Bridget Mackay here. I’m an attorney in Petaluma and I practice in the area of estate planning and elder law. And today my theme is going to be, what happens if you have a beneficiary that goes bad?

Along the theme of Game of Thrones, I thought a lot about this. From Season 8 of Game of Thrones where Dani Targaryen just lays waste to King’s Landing. There is the adage that every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin about whether they’re going to be crazy or not. But we all had high hopes for her. She was freeing slaves all over the place, she was coming into Westeros with the support of people who wanted a just king, who wasn’t, or Queen that wasn’t going to do anything erratic. And then there was this episode.

So, what do you do if in your plan, you’ve made a plan, in your trust and you think this beneficiary is good? They handle money well; nothing could possibly go wrong. But then at the time that they are about to inherit or have inherited, they’ve got a drug problem, they’ve gone off the rails like Daenerys Targaryen did. Is there a provision in your documents that allows the trustees to withhold their trust from them or their inheritance from them?

That might not be the case for every family. Clearly if the Targaryen’s were making an estate plan, they should probably put that in all of their estate plans because they can go either way as a family. It should always be a safeguard provision in your documents. I know that’s what we do at our office. Take a look at your plan or if you’re about to get a plan ask your attorney if there are provisions for that. If even though we think that our beneficiary is going to be great, they go off the rails. Is there a safety net for them where our monies just not spent on demolishing King’s Landing after we built it up after so many centuries?