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A Will Can Split a Family, How to Avoid the Hurt

August 7, 2023 - 2 MINUTE READ

From a financial planner's perspective, it's crucial for parents to handle estate planning in a way that minimizes potential conflicts among family members. Open communication is key to setting clear expectations and avoiding misunderstandings. Here are some recommendations to achieve this:

Transparent Communication: Parents should engage in open discussions with their children about their estate plans, emphasizing that any unequal distribution of assets does not reflect a lack of affection. The goal is to make all children feel equally loved and understood.

Side Letters and Explanations: In cases where parents find it challenging to discuss estate plans directly, including side letters in their wills can provide additional context and serve as a final message to their children.

Fairness in Unequal Distributions: When parents decide to distribute assets unequally among their children, it is essential to explain the reasons behind these decisions. 1For example, if one child received a significant gift for a specific purpose, the parents should clarify their intentions to the other children to avoid misunderstandings.

Handling Unique Assets: For unique items or properties with sentimental value, parents should consider openly discussing their distribution with their children. Sticky notes can be used to identify preferences, and if disagreements arise, a family discussion can help resolve the matter.

Protecting Children's Inheritances in Blended Families: 1In blended families, estate planning becomes more complex. Parents should ensure that children from previous marriages are financially protected. Separate wills and qualified terminable interest property trusts can be effective tools in such situations. In some cases, life insurance policies might be considered as an alternative approach.

Ultimately, the main goal is to promote open communication and ensure that parents' estate plans align with their intentions while safeguarding family harmony. Consulting with a financial planner or estate planning specialist can provide valuable guidance and expertise in navigating these sensitive matters.



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