In a perfect world, your family will appreciate your estate plan, divide up your assets, and avoid any conflicts. Perhaps they'll even use some of the money to go on a family vacation in your honor, growing closer and enjoying their time together.
In reality, families often fight over estate plans and inheritance money. Sometimes, these fights push family members apart and cause emotional wounds that never heal. Below are three reasons this happens:
- The distributions seem unfair. For instance, perhaps your daughter makes $100,000 per year while your son is on welfare. You may think leaving your son more money, since he needs it more, is fine. However, your daughter may see that as incredibly unfair and that it's penalizing her for being successful.
- There is no estate plan and no will. In these cases, it's up to your heirs to decide what must be done. This can lead to plenty of accusations that one person is being selfish and only looking out for himself or herself -- and, in some cases, these accusations may be warranted. Either way, it can create a rift between family members.
- Other siblings don't agree with your choice of executor. If you pick one child to do everything, will the other children think he or she is handling the money in a fair manner? Possibly, but it can cause problems if not.
If you want to avoid these disputes, make sure you know all of the legal options you have. Work hard to craft a perfect estate plan that anticipates issues and strives to keep your family members close for years to come.
Source: Investopedia, "Avoiding 4 Common Causes of Family Estate Fights," Barbara E. Weltman, accessed March 08, 2018