Ultimately, how you decide to distribute your wealth after your passing is up to you. However, this does not necessarily mean that the decisions you make are going to go over well with all of your loved ones. If you are not careful, you run the risk of having your children fighting over your estate in court, which could cost them considerable time and expense.
There are, however, a number of steps you might take to help prevent infighting among your beneficiaries and make managing your estate easier for everyone. To help prevent inheritance conflicts when crafting your estate plan, consider:
Giving all children the same amount
Even if one of your children is more financially savvy or responsible or wealthier than the others, try to avoid leaving that child more – or less- than the others. You are not required to leave your children equal shares. Making equal distributions among your children may be the simplest way to prevent inheritance conflicts before they arise.
Having solid reasoning behind your choice of an executor
Naming one child the executor over your estate has the potential to raise the ire of the others – unless you have a good reason for giving the responsibility to one child, rather than another. It may benefit you and your children to select the oldest of your children, or you may want to select the child who has the strongest financial or legal skills.
Setting clear expectations
There is no reason you have to tell your children your estate plan or the amounts you own or expect to leave them. However, it may help them to have reasonable expectations if you give them at least a rough estimation of what they might stand to inherit.
If you treat your children differently, you might consider explaining your reasons in your will such as not for lack of love but because one is already well provided for or that one has special needs. You have to consider more carefully if you want to explain in person as this may be extremely disruptive, especially if you do not tell all of them whether separately or together.
Avoiding disruption is critically important as once you are gone, your children may find that they need one another more than ever. By taking these steps carefully, you may be able to help preserve the relationships that exist between them.