Prevent Sibling Rivalries with a Smart Estate Plan

When planning their estate, many parents fail to realize that neglecting to provide equal distributions of the estate to each of their children can set them up for an ugly future rivalry. In the worst-case scenarios, these feelings of bitterness from assumed parental favoritism can last a lifetime.


Here are some common factors that can cause conflict:

  • Unequal distributions of a family business: Even if one or all of your children are disinterested in your family business, it is likely your largest asset and one that can potentially continue to provide wealth after you are gone. Are any of your children already working within the business? Does one child show more promise for taking over after you pass? Would they each have different intentions about how to run or sell your business? All of these points must be considered when planning this part of your estate.
  • Land and property disagreements: The two biggest reasons for estate disputes between siblings over land are unequal distribution of the property and disagreements about land use. You must be very specific about how you want this land to be managed, distributed, and used in the future in your estate plan to prevent your children from having to work it out among themselves. 
  • Personal and sentimental possessions: When it comes to personal belongings, some items may mean more to each of your children than the others. Pay attention to what matters to your individual children and let that be a factor when planning.



How Can I Avoid This?

The best way to prevent animosity over your estate with your children is to communicate with them openly, sooner rather than later. Sit your family down and be upfront with them about your intentions and your reasoning behind them. Taking the time to explain your wishes in advance can prevent your children from assuming the worst and harboring resentment towards you or each other after you pass.


If your children are too young to understand this subject when you’re drafting your estate plan, write your sentiments down to be kept with your estate planning documents in the event that you pass before you’re able to have the conversation with them when they’re older.


Don’t be afraid to open the dialogue with each of your children about what items and assets they would appreciate receiving in your estate — whether it’s wedding china, a chocolate cake recipe, the family vacation home, or anything in between.


Estate Planning with Lefkoff-Duncan


Are you unsure of how to plan your estate with these things in mind? Lefkoff-Duncan is here to help. Our experienced team will assist you in all of your estate planning endeavors so that you’ll never again need to wonder if you’ve done enough to take care of the ones you love. Give us a call at your convenience at 404-262-2000 to get started.