Can I leave money directly to my daughter without her husband having access to it?

Yes, you can leave money directly to your daughter in a way that minimizes or prevents her husband from accessing it. This is commonly done through careful estate planning, including the use of trusts.

What is the best way to ensure that the money I leave to my daughter does not become part of marital assets?

Setting up a trust is often the best way to ensure that the assets you leave to your daughter are managed according to your wishes and are protected from being considered marital assets. You can specify in the trust document that the assets are for your daughter's use only, and provide instructions for how the assets should be managed.

What type of trust can I use?

A common choice is a "spendthrift trust," which protects the assets from creditors—including a potentially divorcing spouse—by prohibiting the beneficiary from selling or giving away their interest in the trust. The trust can also specify that the funds are only for certain expenses like education, healthcare, or living expenses.

Yes, it's important to ensure that the trust is set up correctly to avoid any legal pitfalls and to make sure it truly protects the assets. Laws vary by state, so it's essential to work with an estate planning attorney who can provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

What if I just want to give her money outright? Is there a way to protect that money?

Giving money outright generally means it could be considered a marital asset, especially if the money is commingled with marital funds (like being deposited in a joint account). If you prefer not to use a trust, make sure any gift or inheritance is kept separate from marital assets. It's also possible to draft a personal agreement or a prenuptial agreement if the gift is substantial, but this would require cooperation from both your daughter and her spouse.

Can her husband claim part of the inheritance in a divorce?

Generally, inheritances are considered separate property and not subject to division in a divorce, provided they have not been commingled with marital assets. Again, how this is treated can vary by state law, so consulting with a local attorney is advisable.

Should I discuss these plans with my daughter?

Yes, transparency can be very beneficial. Discussing your plans with your daughter ensures that she understands how to manage and protect her inheritance according to your wishes and legal advice.

For specific advice and a legal strategy that fits your family's needs, consider consulting with our Brooklyn estate planning lawyer who understands both the legal and emotional complexities involved in such situations. They can provide guidance on setting up a trust or other methods to protect your daughter's inheritance. Our firm also specializes in asset protection, including strategies for real estate and [business owners](