Parents will never stop worrying about their children, and when it comes to the people your children date, emotions always run high. Thankfully, there is something you can do to protect your hard-earned money from your children's spouses, or potential ex-spouses.

If you die and leave assets to a child outright (not to a trust), then he or she may do anything with those assets. The child can give them away, spend them inappropriately or leave them to anyone they want at death.

However, if you leave your assets to the child in a specially designed trust, called a “lifetime trust,” then you can protect against all of these things. The trust can prevent gifting to non-family members or inappropriate spending and can protect against divorce. Under Missouri law, if you die and leave an inheritance to a child in a trust with very specific provisions, then the trust assets are not marital property for divorce purposes — which means a divorce court cannot give the trust assets to the other spouse.

If you are worried about protecting a child from bad decisions, a controlling spouse or just a potentially rocky marriage, then consider updating your estate plan to leave your assets to the child in a lifetime trust to provide maximum protection.