Awkward question: How to keep a secret beneficiary?

Be it for a mistress or a love child, secret beneficiaries are more common than you think. Here’s how to make sure they are taken care of.



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Q: There’s a woman I’m very close to and I’d like to make sure she’s taken care of financially after my death. How can I discreetly set aside money without my wife knowing?


A: Be it for a mistress or a love child, these kinds of arrangements are more common than you think, says Toronto estates lawyer Martin Rochwerg. One option is transferring funds to a trust company, which would administer the money to a chosen beneficiary when you die. Because the money is considered a lifetime gift, the trustee would not transfer any annual income back to you—meaning no paper trail. A simpler option is a secret trust where you leave money to a person in your will with the prearranged instructions that they will confidentially give the money to someone else. For example, you could leave money to your good buddy Jim, with the understanding that he would give the funds to your secret beneficiary behind closed doors.

One comment on “Awkward question: How to keep a secret beneficiary?

  1. Another way to go would be to name that person a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or an IRA or 401(k), at least if you are in America. Canada may have limitations on such strategies. Getting with an estate planning attorney is highly recommended.


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