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How can I prevent conflict between my heirs?

If you’re working on your estate plan in California, you may be thinking about how your heirs will react to your decisions. In many families how assets and property are distributed after a person’s death often leads to conflict, especially when adult children believe they were intentionally left out of the loop. While you can’t always stop fights between your children after you’re gone, AARP offers the following advice to help you keep tensions from rising.

Focus on equal distribution

In many cases inheritance conflicts aren’t solely about money. For many adult children, witnessing a sibling get a greater share of their parents’ estate has more of a psychological impact. That’s why equal distribution is often preferred. In this case, each child will receive an equal share of the estate, which establishes that all heirs are in equal standing. While it may be tempting to provide adult children in financial binds with more of the estate, this is often met with consternation.

Talk about your estate plan with your kids

If you anticipate conflict, bring your family together for a frank discussion. Explain your decisions and why you made them and allow your family to ask questions or even raise concerns. This can be extremely helpful when it comes to things like family jewelry, which might have more sentimental than monetary value. While their objections may not hold much water, having a discussion can be beneficial from an emotional perspective.

Select an executor

When selecting an executor, it’s best to have your decision backed by a solid reason. For instance, maybe you felt most comfortable choosing your oldest child or the child who had the greatest financial acumen. When you have a reason for picking one child over the other the decision will often be met more favorably. You can also enlist your kids to help out in other ways, so they can feel included in the estate plan.

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