May is a very special month to me, as both of my now-adult babies were born in May. My baby boy is definitely not a baby any more. He is 30 years old with a wife and two children of his own. I remember being told that being a grandparent is the best job ever. As a grandparent, we have the possibility of spoiling the children without the repercussion of teaching and disciplining the children. As grandparents, we have the opportunity to pay back our children for that which they put us through.
I am a grandparent whose grandchildren are not geographically close to be able to spend regular consistent time with my little ones. Therefore, it is easy to want to be indulgent when I am near them. I had fallen into the trap of always coming with my trunk full of gifts such as books, clothes, games, etc.
Then I remembered that there is a greater way to support my grandchildren and create a legacy that will support the values that I have. As a Christian, I remember the Scripture that states, “A good person leaves an inheritance for his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22 NIV). I know that my grandchildren will be recipients of an inheritance from my trust when I pass away. However, there is more to inheritance than just leaving money. We have a responsibility to sow into the lives of our grandchildren’s values and culture. While distance is real for extended families in our ever shrinking global communities, we can be thoughtful about sowing into the lives of our heirs.
I am mindful that I have no idea what the age I will be when I pass away let alone the station of my grandchildren when that time comes. I am thankful that I have the capacity to provide my grandchildren with benefits from my passing. Let’s be clear that I did not leave them a direct gift that they receive just because I will pass away. I am incentivizing them to exhibit the values and pursuing goals that I support that will affect their growth and development. I believe that a person should be committed to building and each of us should build toward the future if indeed capable of doing so.
I hold a revocable trust that will provide benefits upon my passing that can support the grandchildren to attend college or other skill training for wealth creation and could also provide support for purchasing real property if they are committed to building assets. My revocable trust is clear about distributing to them in my death. Yet if I am incapacitated there will be no distribution until I pass away as I may need the assets.
Yet, in my capacity to support my grandchildren to have access to support and resources, I have realized that there is additional options to provide for them during both of our lifetimes that will not be affected if I become incapacitated. I can choose to invest in vehicles to economically empower them while we are both alive. One vehicle that I had chosen to employ is an irrevocable trust where they are the sole beneficiaries and owns life insurance policies that have life time benefits.
The irrevocable trust will hold the policy so when it comes for them to identify assets they hold for college, this asset will not be claimed against them. If there is any issue such as a car accident or divorce, the assets are protected. I will have the opportunity to sow into my grandchildren in a protected way that is not dependent upon my death.
As grandparents, we can provide an inheritance during our lifetime that will be an investment that has an invaluable return. We can build the legacy if we plan.