When you have multiple children, an estate plan might feel tricky. How do you divide your assets without breeding resentment?
According to AARP, talking with your kids ahead of time can ease some of the stress.
Start a discussion
You should plan for disagreements. Start the conversation as early as possible. You should make sure to settle the bigger issues as soon as possible. Having a conversation can prevent your children from arguing about what they believe you wanted. Each child may have a different idea about your wishes. Make it black and white for them so that there are no questions.
Likewise, make sure that they understand why you made the decisions you did with your estate plan. Do not leave the option for one sibling to blame the other for your decision-making.
Be equitable rather than equal
In most situations, you want to stay relatively equal when it comes to your children’s inheritance. You do not want them to resent one another or question whether one sibling stole or earned more love. Instead, you need to create a balance. For example, think about your children and their individual strengths and weaknesses. If one sibling struggles but the other sibling has relative wealth, you may want to provide assets of equal value but that serve different purposes. For example, you may pay for a family vacation for one but pay for the education.
When you have a child with disabilities, you should not worry about equal splits; instead, you need to focus on ensuring that the child has everything he or she needs. The other siblings should be able to understand your reasoning.
If you know how your children may respond to a crisis, you can develop an estate plan that caters to their strengths and weaknesses.