After you die, your children may need one another’s love and support more than ever. However, depending on how you craft your estate plan, the inheritance may lead to conflict between them. You can avoid giving your children reasons to fight with one another over your estate so that they feel at peace about honoring your final wishes.
To help prevent your children from winding up in costly litigation, consider the following options.
Give all children the same amount
You may trust one child more than the others when it comes to financial responsibility. You may find it appealing to give him or her a larger share knowing that he or she will use your hard-earned money wisely. However, leaving that child more than you designate for the others may do more harm than good in the long run.
If you worry about a particular child receiving a large amount of money due to substance abuse, gambling or a similar issue, you may want to consider leaving the assets for that child under conditional terms using a trust. The terms of the trust could stipulate that he or she remain clean for a year or join Gamblers Anonymous before receiving the distribution. Thus, you have provided incentive for better life choices while still being fair.
Make your children aware of your plans
Eliminating unpleasant surprises may help reduce conflict among your children. You know what you plan to leave behind, so give them a general idea to prevent false hopes about their inheritance.
Conflict could also arise if you plan to make one child executor of your estate. Executors typically receive payment for these services, but your other children could feel resentful of your choice and the compensation. Explain your rationale for your choice, or consider making your children co-executors and leaving each with his or her own duties to fulfill.