The very thought that loved ones are fighting is cause for stress and unsettlement.  Especially if those loved ones are your children. How can you avoid your children fighting over your estate? We recently published this article  The hope was to encourage all of us to start thinking about this issue. Unfortunately, sibling rivalry over estate issues is become more common then not.

So what can you to avoid estate issues?

  1. Most importantly talk, talk and more talk. You need to make sure that you have a clearly thought out plan. Then communicate it to your family about it. Don’t be shy.

2. Explain your rationale. Even if your family isn’t keen on your decisions, the respect shown by talking to them is powerful. Tell your family why you have decided what you have. It may not make your family happy but at least it gives them a base to try and understand.

3. Listen to their thoughts and concerns. This doesn’t mean you have to change your plan, but you are at least acknowledging how they feel. Show some empathy. Remember this  conversation is difficult for everyone.

4.  Consider the current relationship between your children. How your children get along today will likely indicate the risk of fighting over your estate.

5. Keep track of who has been given what. Each child doesn’t need to know what the other received over the years but the child that did receive financial support from you needs to acknowledge that their part of the estate considers any previous ‘gifts.’ It isn’t necessarily an even split.

6. Keep the conversation going. Your family will need time to absorb whatever you have to tell them. Their immediate reaction may not be ideal, but after some time to think things through additional conversations may go better.

Remember removing any surprises after you pass away is one of the greatest gifts you can give. As difficult as it is to have these conversations, it is much better than leaving things unknown or unresolved. A lack of understanding will only create additional pain for your family.