The trouble with inheritances is that you’re not around to make sure everyone completely understands the hows and whys of your decision making process. That is why having frank and honest discussions ahead of time is critical. When siblings have very different personalities, needs, and motivations this can be even more difficult. How can you keep your kids or other heirs from fighting it out after you’re gone? Here are a few things to consider, as an estate planning lawyer, like from Bott & Associates, LTD., can explain.
- Start the conversation early and often. No, you don’t need to have the conversation with your five year old, but once your children are adults, it is time. Talk to them about your wishes for your estate. Establish someone who can be an executor who is likely to be responsible and not instigate arguments between siblings and families.
- Establish your wishes in writing. Now that you’ve had the difficult conversation with your family, it is time to put pen to paper. This is where you should consult a legal expert who can help you craft a will that can work for your estate and, hopefully, keep the peace between your children or heirs.
- Understand the clarity of communication. For example, there is a difference between saying that each child will get an equal portion of items from the estate and specifically stating how each of their inheritances will break down in value. There may also be inequity between each child’s lifestyle which facilitates a different process between them. Even if you’re trying to create scenario that works best for each individual, that sense of fairness will be difficult to overcome.
- Know the difference between fair and equal. To this end, it is critical that you and your children understand the difference between fair and equal. Equal is giving each child a stake in the house so, after your death, it is sold and the profits split. Fair might be willing the home to your youngest child when your older children are already established in their own homes. You could, then, offer an asset of similar value to the oldest.
Do you want to make sure that your family is taken care of in the most fair and equitable way? A lawyer can help you establish the right process for your inheritance to avoid major conflicts between family members, so call today!