I was speaking with a husband and wife couple recently following one of our living trust educational events. This husband and wife couple was in their 60s, had saved a decent sized nest egg for their retirement years, and like every couple I speak with, has concerns regarding their adult children at their deaths. This husband and wife couple asked me how they can avoid their children fighting over each other’s inheritance after their deaths.
This is a very common question and concern among many of my clients. It is a very common scenario for many of my clients to be worried about fighting among their surviving children. I explained to this couple that there are really 3 common disputes that can occur among your surviving children after you are gone:
- One Child Receives More than the Other Children
- One Child is Named Executor and the Others are Not
- All Children Are Named as Co-Executors and Are Unable to Agree on Decisions
I explained to this couple that this type of fighting among your surviving adult children can easily be avoided with proper advanced estate planning. For instance, when one child receives more than the other children, this can lead to fighting among your children resulting in a long and costly court proceeding. However, one way to avoid this is to make sure you have a conversation with all of your children regarding your wishes when you are no longer here. Make sure all the children know what your thought process was in coming to the decision on how and in what proportions to divide your assets. In addition, a no-contest clause may be appropriate. This is a clause within your estate legal documents which states that if your heirs fight over their inheritance, then they shall receive nothing.
Another common area of fighting is where one child is named executor and others are not. Again, this can be resolved by having this conversation with your children during the estate planning process. Finally, a common area of fighting is when multiple children are named as co-executors and co-trustees, and then they cannot agree when it comes to making decisions regarding the settlement of their late parents’ estate. This can be resolved by either naming one child as the primary executor or the other child as back-up executor and trustee. Or, another planning strategy is to name both children and multiple children as co-executors and co-trustees, however, allow them to act independently of one another.
If you have questions about estate planning in Tennessee and how you can set up your legal affairs so that your assets are protected you and provide a smooth transition to your loved ones, then I encourage you to attend one of our live free educational events scheduled this month. At these events you will hear a lot of real life stories about families that paid thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses, families that were able to avoid unnecessary expenses, and families that enjoyed zero government intrusion into their families’ private lives.
I look forward to speaking with you at one of our upcoming live educational events!