We have previously discussed why leaving your estate to your children in equal shares isn’t always fair. In fact, it could destroy the value of the assets you leave and ruin family relationships. So what solutions do you have to be fair and preserve family harmony?
Instead of simply dividing everything in equal shares, be more thoughtful about your gifts and consider the following questions:
Who values which assets?
· Is one child is actively involved in the family business, while others have nothing to do with it?
· Does one child live in one the properties you own?
· Does an asset has sentimental value to someone in particular?
Who will use which assets?
· If your children live out of the area with no plans to return home, they might have no use for your homestead.
· Maybe your children have busy careers and would not have the time to run another business or manage real estate.
Talking to your children directly about these issues can provide helpful insight.
A common solution is to give whole assets to individual beneficiaries and equalize gifts with cash. If there will be insufficient cash, a simple solution is to sell assets. But if you don’t want to sell assets, consider purchasing life insurance to provide additional cash for gifting.
If you want to leave real estate or a business to multiple beneficiaries, and you want to maximize the value of the gift while preserving family harmony, we can design and implement a custom estate plan that accomplishes this.
Contact us to schedule an estate planning strategy session to discuss how.