Every parent’s nightmare is that your family will be torn apart over money when you pass. I will let you in on an ironic little secret about the inheritance you hope to leave.
Money makes people crazy!
If you have not planned appropriately – and sometimes even when you have – it is very possible that your family will be torn apart over dollars and cents and over your “stuff.” Because money makes people crazy.
Children who ordinarily get along well can become enemies the minute anyone does something that seems underhanded or without the perceived knowledge of their siblings.
The moment the first heirloom goes missing, battles ensue. It takes just one scuffle for seemingly solid relationships to permanently sever.
There is one way to reduce the possibility of this happening. Have a conversation with your children with everyone in the same room while you still have it all together so that everyone is on the same page. This conversation may be uncomfortable. I am not suggesting this is an easy conversation to have, but it may be the difference between your family staying close or never speaking to each other again. It’s not fun to think that could happen, but I’ve seen it before.
As an added security measure, you might even consider having the conversation recorded so there is a permanent record of the conversation. People remember what they “want” to remember, so having the permanent record can dissolve many disagreements before they start. You may even want to do this in your attorney’s office so there is a neutral third party. It will be money well-spent.
I hate to get that specific or regimented about your material legacy, but I’m here to remind you one more time that money makes people crazy. I’ve seen it time and time again.
Visit your estate planning attorney. Make sure everything is planned just as YOU want it. Then have the conversation with your heirs about how you want things to go. The choices are yours to make. But if there is one thing that my experience as an advisor has taught me about inheriting money, it is to be sure your wishes are clear before you go.
Just food for thought.
This post is not advice. Please see additional disclaimers.