Law Office of Claudia I. Pringles, PLLC

Accounting for Gifts and Loans to Children in Your Estate Plan

Loaning money to adult child

No parents want their children to fight among themselves after they are gone. Sadly, conflicts often arise, especially when a parent has gifted or loaned money to one child and not others. However, a few key words in your estate plan can minimize the potential for conflict.

If you give money to one child, the other siblings may claim that the child should receive a reduced share of your estate.  You can forestall such disputes by making your intent clear in your estate planning documents. For example, the document could state that you are not making any adjustments based on gifts. This would make it clear to everyone that no one should receive a reduced share. Alternatively, you could specify the gifts that have been made and explain why one child is receiving a reduced share.

Loans are another problem. These can be addressed in a number of ways, depending on your intent. Verbal loans are difficult to prove, so consider including a provision in your estate planning documents stating that all verbal loans are a gift. If you have any outstanding verbal loans that you don’t want to be a gift, then make sure you put these in writing. If you want the loan to be an advance against inheritance, this can also be specified in your estate planning documents. To avoid a child claiming the loan was forgiven, you can require that the forgiveness be in writing.

The important thing is to make sure your estate planning documents clearly convey your intent. A trust is an ideal estate planning tool to document your wishes and to ensure that your wishes are carried out well into the future.

Disclaimer: The Law Office of Claudia I. Pringles presents the information on this website as a service to members of the general public. Use of this site does not constitute, in any manner, an attorney-client relationship between the Law Office of Claudia I. Pringles and the user. While the information on this site is about legal issues, it is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for the particularized advice of your own counsel. This web site could include inaccuracies or typographical errors and are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. Anyone seeking specific legal advice or assistance should retain an attorney.

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