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How can you limit the risk of a family feud over your estate?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2021 | Estate Planning

Providing for your family does not need to stop when you die. If you have built up wealth, you want to ensure as much as possible gets into the hands of those you love when you go. Yet sometimes the money you leave can lead to a family dispute.

If your family falls out over the money you leave them, you will not have to witness it. Yet, it will also be too late for you to do anything about it. Your only chance to act is now while you are still alive.

Explaining your plan gives people time to ask you about it

No loving child will ask you why you are leaving their sister more than them when you are on your deathbed. Yet, if that is the first time you mention their inheritance, you leave them no chance to ask questions. You leave them to draw their own conclusions, making a sibling dispute more likely after you pass away.

Keeping your plan up to date ensures it is fair to all

You do not need to split things evenly when choosing your beneficiaries. Yet, you must ensure your estate plan reflects the current value of your assets.

For example, you currently have half a million to divide between two children. You value your house at $250,000 and have $250,000 in cash and other investments. Leaving the house to one child and the rest to the other looks like a simple 50:50 split.

The problem is, the value of things can change. If you die in 10 years and never review your estate plan in the interim, your split may be out of balance. The house might be worth a million, but the investments have only risen to $350,000

If you tell your family about your estate plan when you make it, you have time to explain your decisions. If you review it regularly and keep them up to date on changes, you reduce the chance that the money you leave comes at a cost to your family’s unity.