Hi. My name’s Bridget Mackay. I’m an attorney in Petaluma, California, and I practice in the area of estate planning and elder law, and today I want to talk to you about whether you can leave money in your will or your trust to someone other than your children. And yes, you can. It’s your money and you can leave it to whoever you want.
So the deeper question here is, how do you do that? And if we’re talking about a trust, a revocable living trust or living trust are some of the names it’s known by, you would do it either in a specific gift, so, “I want to give $50,000 to my nephew or my grandchildren or to Joe the gardener,” at any amount, and then after that money is distributed out after your death, anything left would go to your children. And you may designate it going to your children in whatever percentages or fractions you decide. If you have three children, one third to each kinda thing.
The other source of giving money to someone else can also be done in some of your beneficiary designated assets. And by that I mean life insurance policies, annuities, IRAs, 401Ks, those types of assets where you would name who the beneficiaries are. And if once you’ve named your spouse, and if both of you have passed away, people traditionally name their children, but there’s no bar to naming someone else that isn’t your child.
Those are a few ideas of how you give assets or distributions or think of other people in your planning. It doesn’t always necessarily have to be in your trust or your will. It can be in something else. So if you have any questions like these, you should always also follow up with them with a qualified estate planning attorney. Thanks.