Is it wrong to name my son as a beneficiary in important documents instead of my wife? It’s not like I don’t trust my wife, it’s just that I can’t gamble with the future of my only son. What’s your professional advice please?
– Dr. Duke, Calabar.
Hello Dr. Duke,
I must commend your eagerness in ensuring the future of your son, rather than leaving fate to decide.
The subject of naming beneficiaries to one’s assets is one that can neither be judged as right or wrong. However, your choice of beneficiaries should not only be influenced by the prevailing state of affairs of your family, but the probabilities of such benefits extending to your actual beneficiary.
Although there are no restrictions on naming your son as a beneficiary of your assets, it is important to note that certain measures can be taken to ensure that your son does not squander assets appropriated for his welfare as a result of his level of financial maturity, especially if your son is still a minor (although not stated in your text).
I also recognise your concerns with naming your wife as beneficiary of your assets for onward transfer to your son, as this could jeopardise the chances of these assets being eventually passed to your son in a situation where your wife either remarries or is unable to complete the asset transfer during her lifetime.
Therefore, in such cases of uncertainty, a trust would be most appropriate in ensuring that your assets are effectively transferred to your son when you deem it necessary and in what proportion you may prefer.
A trust is an arrangement in which an individual’s assets are transferred to a trustee to hold for the benefit of named beneficiaries. With a trust, you can not only ensure that your wealth is preserved for your son, you can even pass this wealth down through generations.
It is my advice, therefore, that you carefully assess both options and choose which best suits your intention and family.
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