How to keep adult children from fighting over an estate

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Those who put together an estate plan in New York typically want to provide something meaningful for the people closest to them. For example, many adults in New York wish to enrich the lives of their children and provide a final, meaningful memory for their children after their passing.

Some adults want to have each of their children inherit an equal share of their estate, while others want to leave specific assets for each child. Regardless of the legacy they hope to leave, testators should be aware of the risk of their estate damaging the relationships that their beneficiaries have with each other. The damage to sibling relationships that occurs during probate conflicts can permanently alter family dynamics. These are a few of the ways that parents in New York can diminish the likelihood that their estate will negatively affect the bonds their children have with each other.

Plan carefully

Those who leave vague instructions in their estate plans or who fail to address all of their assets may set loved ones up for conflict after they die. It is often necessary to specifically address assets with high financial or emotional value. Setting something meaningful and valuable aside for each child may reduce the likelihood that they will feel dissatisfied. Addressing less valuable assets, like personal property, is also important. The documents someone chooses to use for estate planning can have a major impact on the success of the process and the likelihood of conflict later.

A will can be a very useful tool for ensuring the proper descent of specific assets. A trust might also be helpful because it can reduce the likelihood of probate challenges. In some cases, testators may choose to execute deeds or special bank paperwork to arrange for the transfer of certain assets during their lives or immediately after their deaths.

Communicate clearly

People might expect to receive certain property or a specific amount of the estate’s value and may lash out at others if the terms don’t align with their expectations. Although it can be very uncomfortable to talk at length about what will happen after one’s death, such discussions are necessary to help family members understand one’s intentions. Those who talk with their children, either individually or as a group about what inheritance they can expect are less likely to have familial conflicts crop up after their passing.

Adults thinking about the impact their estate will have on their families may also want to be very careful about who they choose to handle estate administration. Selecting someone who is not one of their children if their children are their main beneficiaries could help reduce conflicts among their children after their passing. Being proactive about minimizing conflict can help adults ensure that their legacy will be a meaningful and positive one.