Having multiple children may have been an aspect of your life that has brought considerable joy. You may have come from a big family yourself, or you may have had a small family growing up but always wanted children of your own. Whatever the case, you have been able to see your children grow up and turn into capable adults.
While you may never have played favorites when it came to your children, you may now feel as if you are, as you work on your estate plan. You may think about who should get what in terms of your assets, and you certainly do not want your decisions to cause any conflict between the siblings. Of course, your specific family dynamic may play a role in how you want to distribute assets.
Do or don’t?
If you have significant tangible assets to consider, like the family home, you may want to remember that these assets are not easily divisible. Leaving instructions, saying that your children should work out among themselves who should keep something like the house, could easily cause unnecessary conflict. Instead, you may want to consider leaving the property to one child and providing your other children with cash or other assets that work out to a similar value. Another option involves selling the home and allowing the children to divide the profits.
Whatever assets you have in your estate, it is typically wise to discuss the division of those assets with your children long before the actual dividing occurs. You may find that something you considered insignificant actually has great sentimental value for one of your children. You could also find that a child has no interest in certain assets or would rather have cash than other tangible property. While you may not be able to please everyone exactly as they hope, you could use their input as you see fit.
Get it in writing
Even if you discuss your wishes with your children and hear their input, it is still essential that you have your estate planning instructions in writing. Various legal documents could help ensure that what you want to happen with your assets does happen. If you feel ready to take the step into creating a formal estate plan, you may find it helpful to work with an experienced California attorney who could ensure that your instructions are clear and legally binding.