Should Being Fair to Your Heirs Be a Consideration?

When planning your estate, youmay want to assess the “fairness” of the inheritance you plan to leave behindand any potential hurt feelings along the way. You see, sometimes your planscould convey a message of intentional disparity – which can be more obvious toyour heirs than you’d think. While it is your estate, it may be helpful tocommunicate your wishes and rationale nowto avoid misunderstandings (or worse) later on.

The Washington Post recently explored this subject in an articletitled “Dividing up money can cause divisions infamilies.” The article tracksthe case of a certain individual who can’t help feeling resentment over the estateplan his parents have created. He believes the basis for the estate plan is hischosen “lifestyle.”

MB900442223[1]He has no children while his sister does. The parents of these adult childrenhave chosen to leave an inheritance “directly” to their grandchildren, insteadof “through” their daughter. The grandchildren are set to each inheritone-sixth of the estate, with the children splitting the remaining two-thirds.

The author of the articleconcludes thusly regarding the inheritance planning of these parents: “And yet,this is their prerogative. It’s their money.”

What about your own family andheirs – will they understand? What can you do to make yourself understood? Thenagain, if instead you are the one inheriting, have you thought it through fromeveryone’s perspective?

Properly thinking through yourestate planning objectives and then committing it to proper legal instrumentscan be an arduous task. That is why too few otherwise responsible adultsactually follow through on their intentions. One of the most common estateplans is one that lies unsigned in a desk drawer.

When all is said and done, it is your estate and youmay distribute it as you wish. Period. Nevertheless, long-term family harmonyoften hinges on communicating your wishes while you are alive and able toexplain them. Surprise is only a good thing when it comes to birthdays andmilitary maneuvers.

For more information on putting together an intentional estate plan,contact IdahoEstate Planning and schedule aconsultation. Remember,good planning is no accident.


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