Oct 1, 2013
You kids, don’t fight when I’m gone. These were always my Mom’s words as she left to go grocery shopping, and left my brothers and me home alone. I remember, as soon as we’d heard the car leave the garage, we would start fighting over something.
Now as an adult, I notice that the same experience happens among adult children when their parents leave for the last time. While parents are with us, we tend to behave and get along. And once our parents die, many of us begin to argue and fight.
This is sad for me to see time and again … As children not only lose a parent, but also their relationships with their siblings. None of my clients want their children to fight — especially after they’re gone. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why people set up estate plans. And estate planning attorneys can advise parents how to minimize the risk of jealousy, rivalry and infighting between their children. Sometimes we must continue to parent beyond the grave.
HERE ARE FIVE ESTATE PLANNING SUGGESTIONS TO MINIMIZE FIGHTING:
- Don’t give your children the same asset, give them different things
- Make it as equal as possible
- Don’t leave decision-making up to them — you are the parent and these are your assets … you make the call
- Meet with the family and explain the estate plan
- Clearly explain your reasoning behind your decisions and share the “why” behind each gift