Imagine yourself peacefully passing onto the afterlife, but realizing your children are suing each other over your property. And one sibling didn’t get what his other sibling has! The horror! This scenario truly happens not only in movies but also in real life. Now, while you’re still alive, plan your estate ahead of time.
Estate planning has never been easy for parents, knowing that each child may or may not be content of what is being given as an inheritance. Planning your estate must be done as early as you can. There is no other time to do it while you are still mentally, physically, and emotionally capable of making a sound judgment. You have to talk to your spouse about this. But if unfortunately, the latter passed away ahead of you, the decision is in your hands.
In planning the estate division, you must have the guidance of an estate lawyer. He will guide, discuss, and enlighten you with the basics of estate planning. You should not be considering any of these to your children until it is done to avoid undue influence. According to the law, “undue influence” means unbiased doctrine where one child manipulates the decision of the parent during the creation of the will.
Now that you know the gist, a simple yet complicated question will pop up, “Will I divide the estate to my children equally?” That’s the kicker. Most parents will go by default of dividing the estate in equal because they feel it is fair. But is it reasonable?
According to an expert, there are things to consider when to divide the estate equally and unequally. The estate will be divided among children if they are all legitimate children of yours. Second, the children are insane mind and capable of supporting themselves. Third, if each of them received your support, like helping them get a college degree, this is very straight forward and pretty clear.
When to divide it unequally?
To avoid disputes between siblings in the future, what each child is inheriting should be on your will. The estate can be divided unequally when, first, the child has special needs or if he cannot take care of himself and needs medical assistance throughout his life. You may want to leave him an amount that could support him and entrust it with a reliable and trustworthy executioner. Second, you have given a lot of money to this child more than his siblings, i.e., house financing, a car loan, or even paying his debt. Third, when the child is financially irresponsible. Fourth, when one of the children has a share in the family business. Always remember to make a just decision and be very clear about it in your will. Provide a description and reasons for your choice. Remember, you cannot defend it when you are six feet under.
What is there to divide?
Tangible and Liquid Assets
The liquid assets are the most accessible assets to divide whether you choose to bequeath an equal amount or not. But what about the physical assets like a house or a land? Always consider the interest of your children. For example, if one of your children likes farming, it is wise to give him the estate that is situated in the countryside. Likewise, if one child chooses to live in the city because of a job, it is also fitting to give him the estate in the city.
This is one of the most challenging estates to be divided among your children. If you have valuables like this, you should be wise enough to bequeath it. Now, if you don’t want your children arguing if one child is favored than the other, it’s better to indicate that these pieces of jewelry will be appraised, sold, and divided among them equally.
Should there be an instance that the child feels he did not receive fairly and wanted to bring the issue to the court, can the heir sue the parent?
Yes, the child can contest the will, but this is going to be a long, exhausting, and painful process. To avoid this situation, make it clear in your will that whoever contests the will receive less to nothing. Always keep in mind that there must be a harmonious relationship between children when you are gone. Family is necessary, and they need to have each other’s back.