You worked long and hard to amass a legacy to leave your children, and you want to make sure they have access to as much of it as possible. Inheritance conflicts may eat up a substantial percentage of what you leave behind, so it benefits all of your beneficiaries to avoid them.
Often, inheritance conflicts arise because children question the beneficiary designations their parents make during estate planning. There are several tactics you may want to employ when creating your estate plan to reduce the chances of an inheritance fight.
- Leave all children the same amount
When you leave one child a greater portion of your estate than you leave the others, they may have justifications for arguing against your wishes. Leaving them equal distributions is an easy way to avoid inheritance fights, and they may be less likely to question whether you loved or trusted one of them more than the others.
- Have a solid reason for choosing your executor
Many aging Americans name one of their adult children executor over their estates. If you are among them, try to have a solid reason for choosing one child over the others. Maybe that child has a background in finance, or perhaps he or she is much older than your other children. Having a strong argument for choosing one child over the others may reduce feelings of jealousy and minimize conflict.
- Avoid “dividing” indivisible assets
Leaving land or a home you own to multiple children may lead to unnecessary conflicts. Rather than divide a plot of land three ways, consider giving it to one child and then leaving your other children other assets that make up for its value. You could also leave that plot of land but stipulate that your children must sell it and then divide the profits evenly among or between them.
Finally, making your children aware of your wishes while you are still around to do so may work wonders as far as limiting conflict. Giving your kids an idea of what they may inherit should help ensure they do not have an inflated sense of what they stand to collect after your passing.