Heidman Law Firm

Blog: Talking To Adult Children About Their Inheritance

October 5, 2015

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Rarely does a week go by that a call does not come from a surviving child whose parent has recently died who is having difficulty with a sibling regarding distribution of an estate, personal property distribution, or some other dispute. Often times the disputes are longstanding and involve a myriad of interrelationships in the family.

To prevent some of this confrontation it is critical that parents clearly articulate with children what their plans are for distribution of their estate, why they are doing what they are doing, and answer questions of the children. Sometimes the last child taking care of a parent is accused of undue influence, having special benefits given to them. Did they influence parents or are parents grateful for the care given to them?

No one likes to talk about what happens to their stuff after they die but instead of the kids fighting over it, it is much better that mom or dad explain what they are doing. If a child has a question, answer it. Give children an opportunity to explain why they are disappointed or confused as to what is happening. Children sometime have long awaited expectations that they are going to receive certain assets or be treated in a certain way. They often need to be brought back to reality. Hearing it from mom and dad is far better than have siblings arguing after parents die. And then there are substantial legal and emotional costs.

This blog post is authored by Daniel D. Dykstra and meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to provide legal advice in any particular circumstance or factual situation. You should consult with an attorney prior to taking any action regarding the information contained herein.  

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