In our “Ask the Expert” series, we look to Northwestern Mutual advisors and experts for answers to our clients’ most frequently asked questions.

Q: “Can I Leave Money to My Kids But Not Their Spouses?”

A: The most effective method is to leave money to your daughter in a trust. The trust can be created today if you want to give money to your daughter now, or it can be created in your will and go into effect after you are gone. The trust can receive investment assets and can be named beneficiary of your retirement accounts and/or life insurance. The terms of the trust will direct the trustee how much of the income and principal should be distributed to or for the benefit of your daughter. In order to minimize the access your daughter’s spouse might have, the trust can direct the trustee to pay expenses for your daughter rather than make cash distributions directly to her.

Since your daughter is already married, you have missed the opportunity to suggest that she create a prenuptial agreement. You could discuss a postnuptial agreement; and if they are both agreeable to it, they could work with an attorney who specializes in family law. But that can be a tricky family conversation.

- Wealth Management Advisor Amy Jamrog

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