Why are Inheritance Conversations Necessary?

Book An Initial Call Now
POSTED ON: May 29, 2024

Why are Inheritance Conversations Necessary? Having an estate plan prepared by an experienced estate planning attorney is nowhere near as challenging as having conversations with adult children about your intentions. However, not having the conversation is a major mistake. The big wealth transfer between generations has led to a rise in litigation over inheritances, according to an article from The Wall Street Journal, “Hash Out the Inheritance Now, or Fight Your Family Later.”

Typical fights? The child who stayed in their hometown to care for Mom versus the one who left to live out their dreams on the opposite coast. The biological children of the first spouse to die in a blended family. There’s plenty more. However, they all result from a lack of candid discussions before parents die.

A study by a financial services company found that a third of Americans state they have no plans to discuss their inheritance with their family. This refusal to have open discussions leads not only to litigation but also to lost family relationships.

Members of all generations need to hear from their parents and grandparents what they were thinking when they created their estate plan and decided how to distribute their assets. Even when the conversations are uncomfortable, the results are long-lasting.

For one family, a mother told her granddaughters she wanted them to inherit her diamond rings. She expressed her wishes but never put them into her will. Everything was left to her second husband. Her son knew where she kept the will but never asked to see it. Had he reviewed the will, he would have had an opportunity to remind her of her promise.

Blended families are particularly vulnerable to estate battles, making it even more important to have the inheritance conversation before their parents pass. Solutions include creating a trust, having specific provisions in the will and properly titling accounts and real estate assets to ensure that the property passes to the heir of your choosing.

The inheritance conversation is not a one-and-done discussion. Once children are mature enough, it’s good to start talking with them about financial matters. Business owners need to discuss succession plans, especially if their children are in the family business. Unexpected events can occur at any age, so waiting until retirement is on the horizon is not a good idea.

These discussions don’t need to happen at Thanksgiving or other family gatherings. Family meetings should be separate from family events. If family members live far apart, meeting via video might have to substitute. The important thing is to have ongoing discussions in whatever way works for the family.

Finally, one way to avoid surprises is to give heirs all or part of their inheritance with warm hands, that is, while you are still living. This gives parents peace of mind knowing that their children have already received their inheritances.

Schedule your phone meeting: THE LAW OFFICES OF CLAUDE S. SMITH, III

Why are Inheritance Conversations Necessary?

Reference: The Wall Street Journal (April 6, 2024) “Hash Out the Inheritance Now, or Fight Your Family Later”

Let Us Help You Through This

Reach Out Now

What Sets Us Apart
We understand this process can be difficult. We ease you through it with your best interest in mind.

Legal problems are extremely stressful, especially when your family, your health, or your freedom are at stake. At this point in time, you may not even be sure what kinds of questions you need to ask a lawyer, but that’s entirely normal. Whether your situation involves family law, estate planning, elder law, a criminal charge, or a personal injury, we will start by giving you all the information you need.

The way we see it, you deserve to get this information directly from an expert. That’s why we make it easy for you to get in touch with your lawyer, and we never ask you to sit down with a paralegal or assistant instead.

As our relationship continues, we will keep you updated about the status of your case every step of the way. Your lawyer will reach out regularly to tell you about any new developments, and he will also be happy to answer any questions you have throughout the process.

Join Our eNewsletter

Stay informed and updated by subscribing to our eNewsletter!
Subscribe Now!
Law Offices of Claude S. Smith, III

805 Bigley Avenue
Charleston, WV 25302

Get Directions
Integrity Marketing Solutions - Estate Planning Marketing
Powered by