Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for siblings to fight about their inheritance after a parent dies. Settling a parent’s estate is a difficult, emotional process and easily can lead to conflict. However, parents can take steps before they pass away to help avoid sibling disputes over their asset distribution. Here are five tips for those who want to reduce conflict between their children about settling their estate:
- Create a trust that automatically will divide your assets between your children or establish a trust for each child so their inheritance automatically transfers to them after your death.
- Give financial gifts and family heirlooms to your children before you pass away. You need to keep in mind that you can give away up to $15,000 to your children without facing a tax in 2021. You also could distribute your keepsake jewelry, furniture, artwork or other items between your children as gifts for their birthdays or Christmas before you pass away.
- Name a neutral third party as your estate executor. You could choose to avoid putting one of your children in charge of settling your estate, letting someone more neutral handle distributing your assets.
- Make sure to keep your will updated and include specific instructions in your will on distributing your assets among your children.
- Hold a family meeting to discuss your will and how you will divide your assets and valuable items between your children. Letting them know what to expect when you die can avoid them fighting over your assets in the future.
You also should let your children know where your estate planning documents are, so they can access them if they need to. You even could introduce them to your estate planning attorney and financial advisers so they feel comfortable dealing with them in the future.
By taking a proactive approach, you can ensure your assets are distributed the way you intend them to be and reduce the chances your children end up in a dispute over settling your estate.