Many people working on their Pennsylvania estate plans have similar goals in mind. If you are working on yours, you may, like many others, be looking for ways to maximize how much you leave behind for your children. However, depending on the specifics of your family situation, you may also be trying to devise a plan that will not lead to infighting among or between your children.
AARP recommends taking the following steps during estate planning to help lower the chances of an inheritance dispute causing problems within your family.
1. Resist the urge to leave children unequal amounts
Many estate battles involve one child not receiving as much as the others and taking issue with it. You may have concerns about leaving one or more of your kids’ assets because you question how responsible a particular beneficiary or beneficiaries may be after receiving a windfall. Rather than leave this child less money, though, consider leaving him or her the same amount you leave your other kids, but in a different format. A trust allows you to have your trustee make distributions to a particular child on a conditional basis, helping preserve your legacy – and prevent infighting.
2. Give your children an idea of their inheritance amount
Most people do not know when they create their estate plans how much money or assets they are going to have when they die. So, while you may not be able to tell your kids exactly how much they stand to get from you, giving them a ballpark figure might help settle any grandiose ideas they have about a major windfall – and potentially prevent inheritance conflicts, too.
Once you are gone, your children may need one another more than before. Making these efforts should help preserve the sibling relationships your children may currently share.