Families fight, particularly siblings. From childhood to adulthood, parents are often tasked to resolve disagreements and bring the family together. Success varies, depending on the dispute, the intensity of the conflict, and if and how it can be fixed.
Estate planning is a reflection of the time it was created. Over time, revisions are made, particularly when children reach adulthood. Parents must carefully navigate through the sibling dynamics, whether they are peacefully united or chaotically divided.
Encouraging Harmony and Minimizing Discord
Whether over distance or dispute, lack of communication among siblings can wreak havoc on the inheritance process. Disagreements could range from costs for final expenses to the status of valuable property. The stakes are high, as are the consequences of fractured familial dynamics.
The most careful and well thought out estate planning can minimize, but not eliminate, sibling discord and disputes. Having a financial overview, instead of countless individual documents, can make the job of executor easier. Also, keeping open lines of communication can facilitate trust and minimize misconceptions or outright skepticism.
A Legacy Defined by Open Lines of Communication
Full disclosure is paramount in documenting all assets, liabilities, and insurance policies. However, that vital information should go beyond legal documents. Sitting down and talking about your intentions when it comes to their inheritances can help avoid misconceptions. Discussions should go beyond the mechanics. Encourage communication and transparency. Let them know that everything done was fair and in their best interests. Remember, if you change your estate plan after discussing it with your children, you will need to make the change known to your children.
Perhaps the most valuable asset you can leave behind in an estate plan is continuing and positive relationships among your children. You can create a legacy long after you are gone to keep your offspring united and passing on that dynamic to subsequent generations.