How to Ensure That Your Estate Plan Does Not Worsen the Rift Between Your Children
You know you are an adult when the only thing you want for your birthday is for your children to go the whole day without fighting. As painful as it is to watch childhood sibling conflicts, they usually resolve when the children grow up, or at least, they become asymptomatic. Even if your children have gotten along well in adulthood, the old hurt feelings about which child the parents appreciate more can arise again when it comes time to take care of parents in their old age or settle the parents’ estate. Inheriting from the parents’ estate is an even more conflict-fraught process if the siblings were estranged even when the parents were alive. A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you approach your estate plan in a way that does not worsen adult sibling rivalry.
Talk to Your Children Separately About Your Estate Plan
Even if your children are on good terms with each other and it is possible for you to get together as a family, conversations with your family about your estate plan should be one-on-one, at least in the beginning. Talk to each of your children individually, and find out about their financial plans, values, and worries. Get a feeling for how they would use wealth that they inherit from you, even if you don’t ask directly. Ask them which family heirlooms and other items of personal property they would like to keep, and let them take those items sooner rather than later. The less personal property in your estate when it goes to probate, the better. Don’t say anything about what your other children will or will not inherit; keep the conversation focused entirely on the child with whom you are having the conversation.
Accounting for Your House
A deceased parent’s house is often a major source of conflict during probate. Your children will have to agree about a sale price if they must sell the house before your estate can settle. Sometimes one child wants or needs the house more than the others do, but the others feel shortchanged or resentful because their sibling inherited it. If you leave the house to one of your children, arrange for the others to get something of value, so they do not feel that you are playing favorites.
If Your Children Are Mortal Enemies
If your children are irreconcilably estranged, no amount of diplomacy on your part can change that. In this case, the best solution is to choose a neutral third party as the personal representative of your estate. This way, you are not choosing sides or setting your children up for an even more bitter conflict during probate.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
A Tampa estate planning lawyer can help you make a realistic plan for your estate even if your children do not get along well with each other. Contact David Toback for help today.