Keeping Things Fair
Paul Sullivan of the New York Times published an article today talking about how you can treat your children different in your will but still be fair to all involved. In the article, Mr Sullivan talks about whether one could need to treat children differently as far as distribution of assets are concerned and whether doing so could be handled tactfully with no hurt feelings.
This is a very pertinent issue in today’s society. The fact that there many individuals today who divorece may remarry and end up with step children or adopted children. What happens if you have children from a previous marriage and marry someone with another child or two? Often times, people will try to split everything evenly down the middle between each beneficiary. While this may seem to be the most fair method, there can still be contention.
Dividing assets unequally however can bring an even greater level of contention. As Sullivan notes in his article, just because one child is more affluent than the others, offering that child less can be very emotionally painful. It can lead to hard feelings between the affected child and his/her parents or siblings. If you DO feel that an unequal division of assets are in order but don’t want hurt feelings to get in the way, it’s time for a talk.
You can sit down with your loved ones and explain your estate plan, the planned distribution, and why you made those choices. At best, everyone will understand and work with you to help make the future process as easy as possible. At worst, it could identify the need to potentially work with a counselor to ensure that bridges aren’t burnt within the family.
There is no need to cause undue distress in your surviving family members once you are gone. Making sure your estate plan is discussed, understood, and accepted can go a long way toward helping your family stay happy with one another. If you have questions about how you can set up such an estate plan, make sure to give us a call today!