An often overlooked aspect of estate planning is how siblings should behave towards each other after their parents’ deaths. If a trust is part of your estate planning, choose your trustee carefully making sure they understand the role and its responsibilities especially if you designate one of your children. One way to ensure peace among siblings is maintained after your death is to take the time while you are alive to have conversations about your estate planning with your children. For more information, follow our link to the NYT article.
Here’s How to Maintain Peace Among Your Heirs
By Paul Sullivan at New York Times
Deciding how your children should inherit your assets after your death might be one of the most difficult processes parents will undertake — especially if they have more than one child and complicated assets. But more difficult, and often overlooked, is how your children should behave toward each other if they are not happy with the outcome.
• One of the biggest errors parents can make is spending too much time creating the legal entities known as trusts and too little time on the kinds of conversations that will help ensure that trust among siblings is maintained when parents are no longer around to settle disputes.
• When creating the legal documents parents often name siblings trustees of other siblings’ trusts — or even pick a friend or relative to do the job. And it might seem like a natural thing to do.
But keeping these complicated and stressful decisions in the family or among friends can create a heavy burden. Trustees have very specific legal and financial responsibilities that a family member may not understand. And they risk legal entanglements if they fail to act in a responsible manner.
“You have to understand what you’re asking someone to do,” said Sharon Klein, president of the New York Region of Wilmington Trust. “Even the appearance of impropriety can cause problems. The people who are left out feel antagonistic.” [read entire article]