According to The Guardian, Sting has revealed his children will not inherit his £180m fortune, fearing that his riches are “albatrosses round their necks”.
We know, he doesn’t look like this anymore. But he used to.
The former frontman of The Police grew up in a working-class family in Wallsend, North Tyneside, and has gone on to become one of Britain’s wealthiest musicians. But in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, he said he has told his six children not to expect to inherit much money because he doesn’t believe in trust funds.
However, whether or not Sting believes in trust funds, they do exist. Not only do they exist, they can also help you achieve your estate planning goals. If you are a fabulously wealthy rock star, concerned that your children will become lazy ne’er-do-wells, you have options (actually, you have the same options even if you aren’t a fabulously wealthy rock star). You can purposely “dis-inherit” or omit them (which should be explicit in your estate planning documents for legal reasons) as Sting claims to have done, or you can provide them with what we in the business call a spendthrift trust.
A spendthrift trust can:
• Give the trustee discretion to limit distribution of funds to amounts needed for a beneficiary’s education and support (based on the beneficiary’s station in life) in order to protect the excess from the beneficiary’s creditors and, potentially, from the beneficiary’s own improvidence
• Prevent the beneficiary from “assigning” his interest in the trust to a third party
• Preserve trust funds themselves even if a beneficiary declares bankruptcy (subject to exceptions)
A spendthrift trust can be useful if you are concerned that a beneficiary has poor financial management skills, an addiction or otherwise impaired judgment, a large amount of consumer debt, a civil judgment against them, or is easily manipulated by other friends or family.
If you are concerned that leaving money to a child or other heir would lead them to waste their life (and your money), or would constitute an “albatross” around their neck, and you do believe in trust funds, please consult with an attorney. An estate planning attorney can explain requirements and help you decide whether a spendthrift trust is right for you and your heirs.
Otherwise, the most fun (and Sting-approved) option is simple: just spend it all yourself!