You may love all of your heirs, but it is possible that they do not all love each other. When assets are involved, oftentimes an ounce of planning is worth a pound of family therapy.
Something happens when money and possessions are involved, putting even the best of family relationships at risk, according to "Keeping the Peace Between Adult Children in Estate Planning" from The Huffington Post. The best strategy is advance planning and lots of candid discussions.
Although American retirees have been ranked high as some of the most generous in the world in terms of amount of assets passed to family members, a new retirement trend has emerged. About 43% of U.S. retirees now say they continue to provide regular financial support to at least one other person, with 10% saying they were supporting at least one adult child. These changing demands on the resources of some retirees shows that inheritance planning may become a bit more complex in some families. This could mean added stress between aging parents and adult children.
You need to remember that your financial well-being needs to be the priority. Make sure that your estate plan is updated to fully coordinate with your complete financial picture. This should be adjusted when significant life changes happen or if there is a major shift in assets—like when a child needs help. For some families, dividing up assets fairly equally among adult children is not a problem. But when it's not fair for everyone involved, it can be tougher. Varying situations for each child might mean it won't be an even split.
Having frequent discussions among your children about your plans, well in advance, will be best so that any disagreements can be settled while you are still around to address them. Be certain your legal documents reflect your wishes, and speak with your estate planning attorney to help anticipate any problems. He or she can help you if there are problems, and may have a family therapist to recommend if things get really bad.
Figuring out what to do with your money and possessions is important, but making sure that when you pass, your family members remain connected with loving and trusting relationships is equally important.
Reference: Huffington Post (March 23, 2016) "Keeping the Peace Between Adult Children in Estate Planning"