A better solution to naming your spouse as your only beneficiary may be to leave all assets to a trust. Under the law, a trust is the same as a person. It can own assets, have debts and financial obligations, and so on.
A trust can give certain inheritance rights to your spouse based on your specific instructions. For instance, depending on the structure of the trust, your spouse can take all the money they need, whenever they need it. Or, you can set limitations to help ensure the money goes toward their best interests. You can set rules stating:
- How soon. You can delay availability of money for a certain period or spread distributions over time.
- How much. You can grant heirs access to interest only, to a certain percentage of the trust’s principal or both.
- How often. You can state whether money is to be distributed whenever the person requests it, or you can release assets on a schedule, like an allowance.
- How so. You can require that your money be made available only for certain purposes, such as paying for college, or only under certain conditions, such as a medical need.