After 40 years in the practice of estate planning law, these are the four words which frighten me the most when I hear them from my clients: “I know my kids.”
That is usually followed by, “If I give them my assets now, they’ll keep them and give them back if I need them,” or “I won’t need to go to a nursing home; my kids will take care of me.”
Really? Even if children are loving, caring individuals who would give back the assets you gave to them, children get divorced or sued. In that case, what you were counting on them giving back to you may disappear to strangers. In addition, children have busy lives of their own, often attending to job(s), children and all of their activities and many other responsibilities—leaving them unable to care for you even if they wanted to.
Thus, a decision as to whether or not to make gifts to children or to count on them to take care of you should be made carefully and with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. Don’t utter those four words without careful consideration as to all of the consequences.