By Michelle Singletary | Washington Post
You will die.
And most of you will leave something for your heirs. (Yes, even your clunker of a car and chipped china might be fought over.)
So my question is: Have you given thought to how to allocate your assets?
Despite the steady drumbeat of reports that Americans aren’t saving enough, there are many people who will actually leave a lot of money.
A study by Accenture estimates that more than $12 trillion in assets are being shifted from the Greatest Generation – people born in the 1920s and 1930s – to baby boomers. And over the next several decades, about $30 trillion of wealth will be transferred by baby boomers to their heirs.
“Most sibling disputes related to the administration of a parent’s estate arise for one reason: unmet expectations. The facts of the dispute may vary, but each can typically be boiled down to that one issue. The children expect one result, and another occurs. Thus the key to avoiding family disputes following the passing of a parent is to have managed the family’s expectations.
Managing family expectations is done by effective communication. While an estate plan cannot overcome the hurdle of human nature, an estate plan can help ease the trepid transition that follows a parent’s passing by facilitating critical family communication. An estate plan first helps the parents define the expectations….often first for themselves. Then once a plan is created, it can be communicated to the children while the parents remain alive and able to discuss any concerns or perceived inequities. If done well, such communication can help bond a family and avoid potential disputes through an inherently difficult time.
Knowing your children, what disputes can you foresee? Does your estate plan address these concerns?
To see how an estate plan can help facilitate an amicable transition for your family, contact one of our Estate Planning and Asset Protection Attorneys to arrange a consultation.”
~ Tim Heileman