It’s an unfortunate reality that the loss of a parent can often bring out the worst in adult children. Whether it’s because they don’t find their share of the inheritance to be fair or are skeptical about how a sibling is handling assets, death can easily cause a great deal of sibling animosity.
No parent wants to think of their children fighting after they’re gone. While more parents are worrying about their future thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many also now have the opportunity to adjust their wills and trusts to stop these large conflicts from happening. To prevent these issues from arising, here are three ways you can minimize family drama with your estate plan:
1. Find the right attorney
Estate planning is a complex process, so it’s crucial to find the right estate planning attorney who can ensure your wishes are clear to your loved ones. Consider a legal professional who understands the importance of a solid estate plan to avoid future disputes among family members and protecting your legacy.
2. Write a financial overview
While an estate plan carefully lays out how you want to divide your assets and your beneficiaries, it doesn’t help your loved ones determine what you own and where they can find it after you’re gone. The goal of a financial overview is to simplify the distribution process for your executor and ensure they know where your assets are located. Your financial summary should include the following items:
- A list of any assets, liabilities, insurance policies you have, and how these items are titled and who your beneficiaries are.
- The contact information of any insurance, financial or legal professionals you work with.
- The usernames and passwords for any digital assets or accounts your beneficiaries may require access to.
- A legacy letter that communicates to your family how you wish to impart any nonfinancial assets you have.
3. Plan a family meeting
After you complete your estate plan and financial overview, it’s good to hold a family meeting, so everyone knows what to expect when the time comes. This meeting should ideally include your executor and any of your children who will be inheriting your assets. During the session, you may wish to discuss:
- A basic run-down of your estate plan.
- Where your important estate documents are located.
- Who your executor will be and why you chose them.
- How you want your plan to hold the family together during a difficult time rather than pull them apart.
Letting your family know your end-of-life plans in advance and where they can find important estate information can help keep your children’s relationships intact when you’re no longer around. A well-crafted estate plan will give everyone peace of mind.