Clients often have the desire to rule from the grave. Although this seems like such a negative
thing, I actually think of it as a positive thing. My background as an immigrant family, coming to
the United States in the mid-70s, with nothing, and being able to make our “American Dream”
come true, makes me very sensitive to the idea of preserving your hard-earned wealth. We
spend hours of back-breaking, labor-intensive, vacation-sacrificing, time in our jobs to earn
every penny in our accounts. We should be able to determine how such money will be used by
our children and beneficiaries.

They say the average time a person who receives an inheritance actually keeps the money is 18
months. What? 18 months? You mean the 40 years it took Mom and Dad to earn that money,
only took their son “Johnny” 18 months to use by buying a Maserati, going on 5 extravagant
vacations, buying his dream house, and giving various “friends” some gifts. You see, Johnny has
never had any money saved up. He lives paycheck to paycheck, and was ill equipped to handle
the inheritance Mom and Dad left him. You hear many stories of lottery winners who go
bankrupt soon after they receive their lump sum winnings. When you don’t know how to
handle money, you tend to spend it like it’s never going to run out.
Regardless of whether your children or beneficiaries are “good” with money, temptation always
seems to take over. Furthermore, you don’t know what types of situations the beneficiaries are
in at the time they receive the inheritance. What if he/she is in the middle of a divorce, or has
filed for bankruptcy? Will some of that money be inadvertently be given to an ex-spouse or to
creditors? There are many reasons why “ruling from the grave” or keeping the inheritance “in
trust” is a good idea. You probably worked very hard to have what you have. Let’s make sure
the next generation continues to protect it.

About the author
Maritess T. Bott, of Bott & Associates, Ltd. is an estate planning attorney in Rolling Meadows,
Illinois, a Northwest suburb of Chicago. She has been an attorney since 1997, and has helped
hundreds of families have peace of mind by protecting their wealth, and preserving their
relationships. She has been a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys
since 2003, a nationally recognized organization of attorneys who specialize in estate planning
and probate. If you are interested in more information, you may check out