Inheritance Pitfalls: Great Expectations - Makofsky Valente Law Group, P.C.

Beware These Common Inheritance Pitfalls

[This is the second in a 3-part series on Inheritance Pitfalls and how to avoid them. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.]

Expectations. We all have them, whether they are reasonable or not. Expectations, particularly unreasonable ones, can be a problem when it comes to inheritance. False expectations or expectations that don’t line up with your estate planning can cause division in the family… something you surely do not want. Here are a few examples of how this could happen, and some thoughts on how to avoid them.

Your children are doing well. Both your son and daughter have grown into successful, capable adults, are you are justifiably proud. You know they will be fine, but you have some concerns about your grandchildren — the oldest of whom is in high school. Life seems so much more challenging for young people these days. You would like to leave your money to your grandchildren, rather than your children, since your children are doing fine.

Dangerous idea! Sometimes by trying to do a kindness, such as helping your grandchildren, you can create more problems. Beware of undermining the authority of your children — the parents of your grandchildren – with the promise of a bequest. You certainly don’t want to create strife between your child and their child. If your goal is to leave something for your grandchild, consider a trust instead, and name the grandchild’s parents as the trustees.

My children seem to have some mistaken idea that I have a large estate which they will eventually inherit. In truth, I have a reverse mortgage on my home, and I don’t have a large amount of savings. I’m concerned that they may be ‘banking’ on a future inheritance.

Transparency is key. Although discussions about financial issues can be tough and potentially embarrassing, they are tremendously important. It’s time to clear the air with your heirs — be realistic with your children about your financial situation. They may have unrealistic expectations of what they will inherit. Does not having a lot of money mean you don’t need a Will? No it does not! A Will is still a wise idea to prevent fighting over sentimental items, and to ensure that what you do have goes where you want it to go.

As experienced estate attorneys, we can help you set up a Will or trust that will best serve your particular needs, and ensure that your estate is settled the way you want it to be.  We can help. We are only a phone call or e-mail away.

The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available here are for general informational purposes only.

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