As you create your estate plan, you will need to consider its impact on your beneficiaries. Among these people may be your children, and they might bristle at the terms you lay out. Their reaction could be especially volatile depending on how you divide your assets. But by knowing what estate planning issues you may face, you can work to resolve them during your lifetime.
Keep communication open
Many people never discuss the specifics of their estate plan with their children. Yet, concealing your intentions will likely lead to fights and challenges among yours down the road. Squabbles are especially likely if you decide to leave a greater share of your assets to one of your children over the others. You may choose to do so if their financial circumstances differ from their siblings’. Or, they may have special needs or challenges that require extra support. Thus, it is crucial you discuss your intentions with your children. No matter their initial reaction, you will have the time and opportunity to smooth matters over by explaining your reasoning. And doing so will also prevent any surprises once you pass.
Make your plan specific
If your estate plan contains vague language, it will likely confuse your children. They will also feel frustrated if your plan is outdated. In either situation, you may communicate wishes in person that differ from your plan’s provisions. Your children, then, may challenge it as its contents disburse. By reviewing your plan periodically – and revising it as necessary – you can make sure its language is precise and its terms reflect your current circumstances.
Clear communication and clear intentions can resolve most disputes between siblings about estates. Yet, you will not want to leave the possibility of disagreement among your children to chance. Consulting an attorney with estate planning experience can help you make sure your plan is sound and straightforward.