A 2018 study by the Charles Schwab Corp. reported that 53% of Americans believe they will receive an inheritance.
However, adult children who expect an inheritance are often disappointed – or worse, inspired to litigate – if and when they find they have been disinherited or their parents have left an unequal inheritance to a different child, family member, friend, or even a charity.
In some, but certainly not all, circumstances, the confusion, suspicion, and anger that an adult child might feel when they have been treated unequally under a Testamentary Plan can be avoided by having a simple conversation, and making your Testamentary intentions known.
When appropriate, transparency can not only avoid confusion, suspicion and anger, but can prevent litigation regarding your Estate after you have passed.
If you plan on leaving an unequal inheritance to your child or children, contact Bashian P.C. so we can help navigate this difficult process.
Financial advisers typically will caution their clients not to count on an inheritance in their financial planning, and if they receive one, it will be a bonus. What can parents do as they complete their estate plans to keep children in the loop and limit the chances that children will contest your decisions?
The first step is simple. At a minimum, create a will. Dying without one in New York will send your estate to probate, and courts will follow state law to determine your estate distribution, To make sure that your children receive your assets as you desire, create that will and update it regularly. Share your intentions with your children.
In the case of blended families, you might want your children to inherit certain assets while your current spouse gets other assets. If you die without a will, your spouse will inherit your estate in New York. Only you can change that by creating a will.
Next, consider how you’d like to divide your assets to your children. Advisers typically recommend splitting your estate equally among your children. They also recommend making your children co-executors of your estate so that there is no resentment or question among siblings about how your affairs are handled. If you choose one child over another, tell your children in advance why you made the decision you made, such as one child is an accountant.
Finally, gather your children and discuss your decisions so that there are no surprises for them after your death. If you’ve decided to leave much of your money to a favorite cause, tell them. If you anticipate they might fight over family treasures with sentimental value, work that out ahead of time. And if you haven’t told them that an investment didn’t pay off as planned and you lost money, tell them. Be frank about your financial situation so they don’t have any questions after your death.
A well-thought estate plan is the best gift you can leave behind and should be done with the assistance of an attorney.