Family relationships can change over the years, and when finances are mixed in, particularly estate planning, you need to strategize ahead of time which means as soon as possible since none of us knows the future.
Although American retirees have been ranked high as some of the most generous in the world in terms of amount of assets passed to family members, a new retirement trend has emerged. About 43% of U.S. retirees now say they continue to provide regular financial support to at least one other person, with 10% saying they were supporting at least one adult child. These changing demands on the resources of some retirees shows that inheritance planning may become a bit more complex in some families. This could mean added stress between aging parents and adult children.
You need to remember that your financial well-being needs to be the priority. Make sure that your estate plan is updated to fully coordinate with your complete financial picture. This should be adjusted when significant life changes happen or if there is a major shift in assets—like when a child needs help. For some families, dividing up assets fairly equally among adult children is not a problem. But when it's not fair for everyone involved, it can be tougher. Varying situations for each child might mean it won't be an even split.
Communicate your plans to your children in advance and make sure your legal documents confirm what you want to do. Anticipate how you'll deal with discord and try to consider what might go right or wrong in the discussion. Have a strategy prepared to diffuse potential issues.
Strong communication and trust with your family can be equally as important as determining what to do with your money.
Reference: Huffington Post (March 23, 2016) "Keeping the Peace Between Adult Children in Estate Planning"