10 Steps to Prevent Children From Squabbling Over Your Estate: Parents that have more than one child know what it’s like to referee sibling rivalries during childhood, but rarely give much thought to how those childhood squabbles could escalate in adulthood over an estate once the parents are gone.
Here are 10 steps you can take to keep peace in the family:
- Talk to children about your estate plan. It may be a difficult discussion to have, but you need to have it. If you find it too difficult, enlist the help of your estate planning attorney to go over the details of your estate plan with your children and answer their questions.
- Write your children a letter. If you can’t face a face-to-face discussion, put it in writing with as much detail as you are comfortable providing to your children. You can frame the discussion in general terms and ask for their input.
- Email your children your estate plan summary. Your estate planning attorney will usually provide you with a summary of your estate plan that doesn’t disclose actual dollar amounts. Ask your estate planning attorney to copy your children on an email with the summary and ask for their input.
- For complex estates, consider a mediator. If you have a complicated estate that may include valuable collections or a family business, consider engaging the services of a professional mediator who can meet with you and your children separately to identify any potential issues and then meet with you together to iron out those issues.
- Use equal treatment. If possible, leave your children an equal inheritance outright; most family fights result from children being treated unequally.
Please see our next blog for part 2 of 10 Steps to Prevent Children From Squabbling Over Your Estate
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