Planning Ahead

How Do I Leave an Inheritance to My Nieces and Nephews?

by Erik Neilson

It can be challenging to think about the details of leaving an inheritance to family members, in particular for those who are near the end of life. After all, no one wants to reflect on their mortality any more than they have to. The fact remains though that we all pass on,  and structuring ways in which our money can benefit the lives of others while we’re still alive is an incredibly smart thing to do.

If you’re looking to leave an inheritance to a niece or nephew, you may be wondering where to start. Fortunately, taking the right steps doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. 

Write a Will

At the very core of leaving an inheritance is the process of writing a will. Your will outlines the ways in which your money and property get distributed once you’ve passed on, so naturally, this is an excellent starting point. There are many different ways to go about writing a will, some of which may come more naturally than others to you. Many people prefer to use online services that help to streamline the will creation process, which is a great way to keep costs down. Others, however, will get a lot of mileage out of working with a reputable attorney who can carefully craft a will that ensures your nieces and nephews get exactly what you want them to.

Regardless of whether you write a will yourself or have it prepared by someone professionally, be sure to get at least a few sets of eyes on it so that you’re 100% sure it reflects your wishes. 

Step-nieces and Step-nephews 

There is one point of confusion that often pops up when it comes to leaving inheritances to nieces and nephews, and it’s in regard to whether or not the children of step-brothers or step-sisters are eligible. The answer is that it ispossible to leave such an inheritance, and in most cases, simply naming those individuals in your will should be all it takes for transference of inheritance to occur. You may want to utilize even more explicit language, however, which will help to ensure that no mistakes are made in the event that you pass and the contents of your will are set into motion. 

Availability of Inheritance 

As you might expect, there is one important aspect of leaving an inheritance to nieces and nephews that needs to be focused on, and that’s how the inheritance will be made available to the beneficiary. Clearly, allowing an entire inheritance to be doled-out in at once comes along with a number of different dangers, chief among them being the uncertainty of whether or not the person will be good at handling money. Staggering the inheritance may be a smart idea.

Leaving an inheritance can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Make the right moves, and your nieces and nephews will get the inheritance intended for them without any hurdles.

And, remember, Tomorrow is not a law firm, this blog was not written by a lawyer, and we do not provide legal advice. When in doubt, talk to a licensed attorney in your area.