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What to consider when leaving inheritance to your kids

Many parents want to leave an inheritance to their loved ones after they pass away but many couples struggle with determining how much to leave to their loved ones and how much to communicate with their family before they will receive their inheritance.

Estate planning can be complicated, especially when thinking about what will happen to your assets once you pass away. Despite the emotional difficulties planning for your estate can present, many parents feel more comfortable with their choices after creating an estate plan and determining what their children's inheritance will be.

During estate planning, individuals or couples should communicate with their children about the value of their estate and what they estimate their offspring will receive as an inheritance. This will help children understand what they can expect to receive as many children often underestimate the value of their parent's estate and are often surprised when they receive their inheritance.

Many parents struggle with deciding how much money to leave to each of their children and often wonder if they need to treat all their children the same. Estate planning experts say that equally distributing inheritance among children is the best way to reduce conflict but that does not mean that parents cannot leave different amounts to each of their children. However, parents that do decide to distribute inheritance unequally should discuss it with their children or leave a note explaining why.

When parents want to leave specific items to their children, it is best to list all of them as beneficiaries and create a list of who should receive specific items. Parents may also want to include a list of certain items that can be shared or divided among all the children upon their death.

This is also true for appointing responsibility for managing their assets in their estate plan. It is important to choose children or individuals that are trustworthy and responsible for handling these decisions, but it is also important to consider everyone's feelings and keep that in mind when making these difficult decisions.

Estate planning and leaving inheritance to children can be very difficult. However, keeping everyone's feelings and future needs in mind can help alleviate the stress and worry during the process along with providing for your children even after you are gone.

Source: AARP, "How to Leave an Inheritance to Your Kids," Jean Chatzky, April 24, 2013

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