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How can I ensure my property is split up correctly when I die?

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Q. If I make a will and leave our farm to one child, how can I still give half to the other child but not allow the sale of it unless it gets sold to his brother? Then when my son has it, how can we make sure he doesn’t lose it to his wife if they divorce? Then after, I want it to go to my four grandchildren. What can I do?
— Thinking

A. This has the potential to be a complicated situation.

First, on divorce.

Under New Jersey law, inherited property is not subject to equitable distribution in a divorce unless the inherited asset is commingled with a marital asset, said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

“However, if the farm is left outright to one child, that child can dispose of the property as he wishes, despite the desires of the person who created the will,” Whitenack said.

You could instead create a trust in your will that specifies the distribution of the property upon your death, she said.

“Such a trust should also protect the property from divorce,” she said.

To make sure your wishes are followed, you should contact an estate planning attorney who can advise based on your entire situation.

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This story was originally published on Sept. 6, 2021.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.