Unfortunately, money has a habit of bringing out the worst in people, even in the best of families. One of the most important reasons to get your [city/state] estate plan handled is to keep your family out of conflict. And, yet, without the right counsel, your estate plan could actually cause conflict!
Here’s what to do to make sure that’s not the case for your family:
Communicate Your Plans Ahead of Time. In our office, we recommend inviting adult children into the planning process and let them know ahead of time why you have made the decisions you have made. This can be a difficult conversation and one we are extremely skilled at handling. We don’t recommend doing it without the guidance of trusted counsel.
Do Not Put One Sibling In Charge of Another Sibling’s Inheritance. Unless agreed to ahead of time by both siblings, putting one sibling in charge of another will almost always lead to resentment and disagreement. You can avoid this with strong communication and agreement ahead of time. Or you can appoint someone else to care for your child’s inheritance. We can help you think that through, so call if a child in your family will need inheritance protection.
Transfer Some Now Instead of All Later. Consider how you can begin to transfer assets to your children during your lifetime when you can influence how they use those assets and you can pass on your values right along with them, instead of waiting until you are gone to pass on everything you’ve worked so hard for.
Make Changes When Necessary. Estate planning is an ongoing process, and when changes occur in your life – even if it’s the divorce of a child or a new grandchild – your plan needs to change as well.
Pass On More Than Just Your Money. Most estate plans focus only on your tangible assets, but your most valuable assets are your values, insights, stories and experience. We have a unique process in our office for passing on these assets that are most often lost when someone dies. And, honestly, they are what will keep your family focused on what really matters after you are gone.
Choose the right advisor. Developing a strong working relationship with a Personal Family Lawyer® that will allow you the freedom to frankly discuss your family dynamics, plan accordingly and keep the family involved every step of the way.
If you would like to create or update your estate plan, contact a Personal Family Lawyer® today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.