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Telling your children about their inheritance

Knowing how to talk to your children about their inheritance is tough -- you want to address the issues you see ahead but you also don't want to create unnecessary drama.

Far too many parents fail to have the necessary discussions with their children. Instead of relieving anxiety in their children by not addressing the issue, however, they create it.

If you're trying to figure out what to say to your heirs, this is where to start:

1. Have a meeting to discuss the issue.

This is a big deal, so there's nothing wrong with holding a family meeting -- it's also the best way to discuss the issue without one of your children feeling like any others are being given preference.

This is also the time to address any disparities in the way that your will divides your estate. While it's generally better if you can divide things equally between your children, you may have a child with special needs and choose to leave more money in trust for that child than the others.

The odds are good that your heirs will anticipate something like this -- but you want to put it out on the open. That way, you can explain your decision and hopefully avoid any unnecessary conflict.

2. Address the sentimental items.

You may -- hopefully -- find out that your children are more concerned about the items of personal and sentimental value that you have. Your engagement ring or watch, your grandmother's silver and the Amish cradle that all the kids were rocked in may be the sort of things that your kids have the most questions about.

This is a good time to find out what items truly matter to each of your children and see if they -- with your help -- can come to an agreement now about who will receive what. You can then add those items to your estate plan with the help of your attorney.

Addressing the division of your estate long before it's an issue may be the easiest way to avoid conflict over your will.

 

Source: nextavenue.org, "How to Talk With Your Adult Kids About Their Inheritance," Lori R Sackler, accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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