The Right Way to Leave an Inheritance

Most people want to leave a legacy for their children. While an inheritance is never meant to cause conflict, sometimes personal or financial issues can cause tension and complicate the process. By leaving an inheritance the right way, you can avoid these tensions and make the trying time after losing a loved one a bit easier. The following are six key things you should do when leaving an inheritance.

  1. Communicate openly about the will and manage expectations. Tell your family what they can expect from an estate. Children often underestimate the value of an estate by over $100,000. When you are clear about what they can expect, there will be no conflicts later caused by surprises in the will.
  2. Make sure to document important information in your will or estate plan. By detailing what all of your assets are and where the deeds and other information can be found, you can eliminate stress for your heir.
  3. Distribute your assets yourself. Do not simply name one child as the beneficiary of a policy and assume that he or she will distribute equally to the rest of the siblings. If you want assets to be shared equally, say so in the will and list them all as beneficiaries.
  4. Distribute your assets fairly. This does not necessarily mean that you have to distribute your assets equally, but generally, this does cause less friction. Include your family equally in the planning so they are aware of your plans and have the opportunity to add their opinions.
  5. If you distribute your assets unequally, explain yourself. Maybe there is a good reason to leave more to one family member than the others. Perhaps one child makes much more or a child has medical issues that require extra money for care. Not explaining this, however, often leads to resentment. If you do not want to explain this to your children while you are still alive, at least leave them a note so they will not be bitter towards their siblings.
  6. Use a trust to minimize uncertainty. Lawyers who specialize in estate planning usually suggest distributing estate assets to children in parts by putting assets into a trust. This is especially true if children will inherit at a younger age. You can determine not only when and how distributions should be made, but also how money may be used or many other types of provisions. This will assure your inheritance will be used prudently.

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By ensuring that your inheritance is written in such a way, you can minimize the conflict and stress that inheritances often tend to cause. In order to assure that your estate is left exactly how you want it, you need to work with an estate-planning attorney. If you need help planning your estate, contact Andrew M. Lamkin and he will help you navigate the process. Call him today for a free consultation to determine what you will need to do to finish getting your inheritance in order.

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