Can You Control Your Children’s Lives After You are Gone?

It is not unusual for wealthy parents to guide their children in their life choices while they are alive, and it’s also not unusual to control how heirs spend their inheritances. But using an inheritance as an incentive to reach specific benchmarks is a new one on us – and perhaps typical of the type of personality it takes to amass great wealth.

When New York real estate tycoon Maurice Laboz passed away, he left behind an estate worth approximately $35 million dollars, two daughters, 21 and 17, and an unusual estate plan.

As is often the case, Laboz did not leave all of that money to his daughters right away. Instead, they must wait until they are 35 years old to receive their inheritances.

However, what is somewhat unusual is that Laboz left ways for his daughters to get some of the money early if they will do things he approves of. For example, they can receive early payments if they get married, only having children in wedlock, and graduate from an accredited university.

The Daily Mail has more details on the Laboz estate plan in a recent article titled “Tycoon’s daughters must wait ten years to inherit his $20m fortune.”

These types of pre-conditions to receiving an early inheritance are not normally encouraged by estate planners. One potential issue is that they might have a tendency to make heirs resentful.

By and large, people do not like being told how they should live their lives and do not like feeling manipulated when it comes to things like getting married and having children.

Thus, while the conditions Laboz set might not seem like anything particularly harmful, their mere existence could have unintended consequences. In this particular case, these conditions might become moot.

Laboz was in the process of divorcing his wife when he passed away. The divorce was not finalized and he cut her completely out of the will. She is likely to challenge it.

An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you on the benefits and detriments to “incentivizing” an estate plan.

Reference: Daily Mail (July 27, 2015) “Tycoon’s daughters must wait ten years to inherit his $20m fortune.”