Parents often say that their entire lives changed after they started having children. This one event is so significant that an adult’s view on life often changes, their priorities shift and they may likely start focusing on providing a positive future for their children more than anything else. For many parents across California, having a child means taking care of a family and doing whatever they can to provide safety and stability.
It may not seem like it, but one of the best ways that parents can ensure their children are taken care of is to develop an estate plan. It does not matter if a parent has one child or five, or if there is $10,000 in assets or $1 million, having an estate plan in place is an effective way of dividing up assets and making sure children are taken care of after parents are no longer around. While it may sound complicated, there are a few easy steps that parents can take to ensure they have an effective inheritance plan in place.
Once a parent has an estate plan in place, it can be helpful to communicate the general terms with children once they have reached a certain age. Communicating the intent of a will or other document can give children the opportunity to raise questions and concerns and actually have them addressed and answered by a parent. It can also give children a more accurate picture of a parent’s financial wishes.
Parents who are sharing this information with children may also then understand the importance of being fair in a will. Leaving an inheritance to children is not necessarily the best time to play favorites. Rather than increase the likelihood of children fighting over money or assets, parents may want to take people’s emotions into consideration and do their best to be fair and equal in an estate plan.
However, many families are in circumstances for which equal distribution may not be appropriate. In these cases, parents should be intentional in a will. If there are reasons that the distribution of a person’s estate is unequal or leaves someone out altogether, explaining the discrepancy can help children understand their parent’s decisions.
With an effective estate plan in place, parents can be sure that a child is taken care of, even after they are gone.
Source: AARP, “How to Leave an Inheritance to Your Kids,” Jean Chatzky, April 24, 2013