The estate planning process requires careful consideration, and this is particularly true if you have concerns about potential infighting among your adult children after your passing. Inheritance conflicts may do more than cost your children money and time. They may also cause permanent damage to the relationships that exist between your offspring, which could fracture their relationships for the rest of their lives.
It does not have to be this way, though. According to AARP, you may be successful at reducing the chances of inheritance fights by taking the following actions.
Treating all children the same
If you leave one child more than the others, you should expect this to cause controversy. Some believe that the easiest way to avoid this is to leave all children the same amount. If you are fearful of leaving a particular son or daughter money because he or she lacks financial responsibility or has, say, an addiction issue, you may want to leave assets in a trust.
With some trusts, you have the option of leaving assets behind that would only undergo distribution under certain conditions. For example, maybe you want that child to reach a certain age before receiving assets. Or, perhaps you want a child who is dependent on drugs or alcohol to abstain from using for a set period before receiving his or her distributions.
Giving your children a heads-up
You may also be able to reduce the chances of inheritance battles by sitting your children down and giving them an overview of your estate plans. Often, beneficiaries have inflated senses of how much they stand to receive from you. Giving them an idea of what you have to leave them may also prevent potential conflicts before they arise.
Keep in mind that not all assets are easily divisible. When you encounter assets that are not divisible, consider making up for their value in other ways.