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Caring For Generations

Grandchildren’s “Gap” Year Incentivizes Grandparents to Create Incentives

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2020 | college planning




COVID-19 has impacted the decisions many college-age grandchildren are making, re-examining, or even abandoning, their plans for college, often to the dismay of their grandparents.

In many instances, as Michael B. Horn writes in, these young people “have relied upon their parents for financial help over a long period of time and are certainly not prepared to become self-sufficient.” During the “gap”, Horn explains, individuals ought to learn about themselves—their strengths, their purpose and what pathways are possible.

Some legal colleagues in Idaho remind grandparents that it is possible to create incentives for these grandchildren to complete their education, simply by incorporating Milestone planning in their own estate plans. For example, a grandparent may provide (in their will or trust) that when a certain milestone is accomplished, a distribution from grandma’s or grandpa’s estate would be made to that grandchild.

“Because of the potentially fatal nature of COVID-19, particularly for older persons, trust and estate attorneys have been inundated by requests to provide clients with legal instruments relating to end-of-life planning,” Erica Silverman observes in That has certainly been the case at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates where we have implemented a phased approach to re-opening our office to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our clients and staff, all while continuing to offer appointments by phone and video conference.

Once the basic end-of-life documents have been put into place, however, many grandparents are turning their attention to the best way to keep their grandchildren’s attention focused on college plans and career aspirations. As we pointed out in last week’s Geyer Law blog, there is no lack of options for helping one’s grandchildren pay for college. It’s just that attitudes have been changing – on the part of both parents and students – about what they want out of an education, or (and this is of primary concern to many grandparents) whether they want one at all!

Now might be a good time for grandparents to examine their own estate plans, setting in motion tactics to “fill the gap”!

– by Rebecca W. Geyer