One of the primary benefits of estate planning is the peace of mind that one’s family members will be less likely to fight over their inheritances after one passes. Since many Texas residents enter the estate planning process for this express purpose, it may be useful to devote a blog post on the topic. Indeed, there are several important issues that can be addressed when trying to preserve the future peace and continuity of one’s beneficiaries through estate planning.
One common issue faced by estate planners is whether to distribute their funds equally to children. For example, some parents may want to give more money to an unsuccessful child who needs it, versus a successful child who has plenty of cash on hand. Parents may wish to feel this out ahead of time in order to see how the children feel about the idea. If it seems like their children are unsettled by unequal inheritances, then the parent may choose another tactic, like dispensing money while they are alive to the child who is more in need. Or, they may simply choose to treat each child equally in order to avoid the risk of disagreement after one’s death.
Old loans to children that were left unpaid may also be a concern — not for parents who may have written the loan off long ago — but to siblings who likely have not forgotten the size of the boon that the other child received. While some parents might forgive such a loan, siblings may not. In order to avoid future disputes, parents may wish to account for the loan in inheritance amounts and give less to the child who owes money. Alternatively, they might choose to give gifts in an equal amount to that loan to the other children while they are still alive.
At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits all approach to estate planning. However, with an eye for potential conflicts that could develop, parents may have special insight into the future behavior of their children. An estate planning professional may also have insight with regard to the legal concerns that can addressed to benefit the future well-being of one’s beneficiaries after a Texas resident is no longer available to keep the peace and continuity in their family.
Source: wcsh6.com, “For best results, start estate planning early”, Kacie Yearout, May 9, 2014