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How to Have the Inheritance Talk


If you want your family to fight over your estate after you pass away, the best way to make that happen is to make the estate plan a surprise and give your family no indication about what they might get from you. If you leave them completely in the dark, then they might not like what they receive and start fighting with each other.

Of course, it is likely you would prefer that your family not fight over your estate. That means you need to talk to them about what to expect. For most people, however, that is a difficult talk to have.

Recently Market Watch offered some advice about communicating with your family in "How to tell your kids how much money you're leaving them."

The advice includes:

  1. Decide When and Where to Talk – Instead of just springing a potentially uncomfortable conversation on your family, let them know what you would like to talk about. Then, everyone can come up with a plan about when and where to talk.

  2. Do Not Start With Money – Before telling your family how much money they will get, start by telling them why your plans are what they are. Tell them who you would like to be your power of attorney and executor as well.

  3. Ask for Feedback – Let your family voice any questions and concerns about what you have told them. This will help you determine how well everyone is communicating and comprehending.

  4. Cautiously Discuss Assets – If the conversation has gone well, then you can proceed to talk about your assets and what everyone can expect and why.

While you are at it, this meeting would be a perfect occasion to involve your estate planning attorney to answer any technical questions regarding how your plan will play out.

Reference: Market Watch (Jan. 29, 2016) "How to tell your kids how much money you're leaving them."

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