Solutions to Inheritance Issues

Inheritance decisions can cause tension between family members and headaches for professionals working with the families. A few things can be done to address the issues before they arise.  First, create a Will so that the distribution of your assets is clear and cannot be argued over. This way your property will be transferred based on your personal preference, not based on state law. You should make specific bequests for tangible items that have monetary or emotional value to your children. Find out which items are important to which family members. If you are gifting any items before death and are applying for Medicaid or VA benefits, make sure you understand the unintended consequences of gifting. A more novel idea is to hold an auction where family members will bid on items and the money made from the auction will be returned to the estate and split up as indicated in your Will or Trust. Additionally, you should let your children know the size of your estate. Doing so will leave them prepared with the amounts they receive instead of being surprised at the end with being left little when they built their future financial plans believing they would receive a large sum. Also, make sure your children know how their inheritance will be split so they are not surprised. If you have a child caring for you and promise them property or a larger inheritance in return, create a caregiver agreement that discusses specifics. Finally, schedule a meeting with your family to communicate how things will be split up so there are no questions later when you are not there to answer them.

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