Estate planning is something that involves careful consideration, and even if you take your time navigating the process, you run the risk of someone not being happy about how you decide to distribute your assets. If, for example, you choose to leave your children different amounts, one of them may take issue with this, and if you are not careful about how you do so, your family may wind up involved in costly litigation.

There are, however, a number of steps AARP recommends taking during estate planning to reduce the chances of inheritance conflict. Arguably the easiest way to do this is to simply leave all of your children the same amount, but ultimately, this is up to you. You may have valid reasons for wanting to exclude or limit the amount a particular child receives.

If you do not want to distribute your estate evenly among your children for whatever reason, it may benefit you to give your children at least a general overview of how you plan to make your distributions. You do not need to give them exact numbers, but some adult children have an inflated view of what they expect to inherit. Thus, setting expectations ahead of time may help reduce the chances of them winding up in litigation.

Similarly, if there are certain assets that you expect may cause controversy among your children, such as family heirlooms or vehicles, it may serve you well to decide what to do with these specific items early on. That way, you have an opportunity to notify your children of your decisions so they do not receive an unpleasant surprise somewhere down the line. Ultimately, the more your children understand about what to expect to receive from you, the less likely they are to fight amongst themselves after your passing. Find more on this topic on our webpage.