You worked hard all your life. You accumulated a significant net worth. And now you have a chance to pass those assets on to individuals or entities you care about.

Normally, receiving a large inheritance can be a positive, life-changing experience.

Sometimes the beneficiary does not receive what you intended. This can be true even when you hire an estate planning attorney to draft your estate planning documents.

Imagine you have children who are on total disability. Would you want the inheritance you leave them be the reason they lost their disability benefits?

Consider the possibility that one of your beneficiaries was going through a tough divorce. Would you want your assets to be claimed by their soon to be ex-spouse?

What if one of your loved ones has a major medical illness and is forced into bankruptcy. Would you want that part of your estate to be seized by the bankruptcy trustee, or to allow those assets to pass safely to your loved one?

I spoke with Wendy Harn, a partner with the estate planning firm Morris Hall PLLC, and these are just some of the things that can happen, even if your estate plan is prepared by an attorney.

According to Harn, your assets may be extremely vulnerable when they pass on to your beneficiaries.

She has reviewed many estate plans over the years and is surprised by the number of revocable living trusts that do not contain the necessary language to provide asset protection for beneficiaries against claims from disability benefits, creditors and divorce.

You worked hard to build your net worth. Make sure your estate is distributed to your beneficiaries the way in which you intended.

To ensure your trust contains the necessary language to convey assets to your beneficiaries safely, contact Wendy Harn at 320-5100 or email her at wharn@morristrust.com.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.