Wills and Estate Planning

Tips for Estate Planning and Inheritance without Animosity

When dividing up an inheritance between multiple children, consider dividing assets and responsibilities equally, naming specific beneficiaries, and talking to your kids about your estate plan.

Keeping the Peace: 3 Tips for Estate Planning and Leaving Your Inheritance to Your Children

As the saying goes, “You can't take it with you.” If you've got a sizable estate, chances are you're looking to leave your children some type of inheritance when you pass away. But what's the best way to approach dividing up an inheritance among multiple siblings without dividing the family? Consider the following suggestions.

Divide both assets and responsibilities as equally as possible.

It stands to reason that if you divide up your assets equally, you can help avoid a great deal of friction and feelings of hostility among siblings. But it can also be just as important to equalize the responsibilities surrounding the settling of your estate. If you don't, some siblings may feel that you thought of them as less than capable or less worthy compared to the others.

Do your own distributing.

All too often the responsibility of divvying up an estate is assigned to one specific child. For obvious reasons, this can be a big mistake and a family rift just waiting to happen. Instead, do the distributing yourself by naming specific beneficiaries. In addition, have a family meeting to discuss amicably who gets certain valuables or family keepsakes.

Talk to your kids about your estate plan.

Estate planning should be a family affair. In other words, let your kids know what's in your estate plan, how it's set up, and why. For example, you might have your life insurance proceeds divided up unequally, but only because one of your children has special needs that will require a lifetime of care. Or perhaps one of your children earns significantly less and therefore has a greater need. Whatever your reason, let them know why you chose to distribute your assets a certain way.

For more information on estate planning, wills and trusts, visit the Protective Estate Planning Learning Center.

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