There are many difficult emotions to deal with when someone dies. It can be made even more challenging if the details of the Will come as a surprise to loved ones left behind.
If an adult child or relation doesn’t inherit what they expected, they can see it as a sign that they weren’t loved or that others were loved more. Those sorts of hurts can run deep and cause anguish for years to come, sometimes leading to a Will being contested.
However, by simply talking about your Will in advance, all of this confusion and heartache can be avoided.
Of course, it can be a tricky discussion to have. Many people don’t like to contemplate their death and family relationships can be tricky at the best of times. However, by openly talking about your estate as well as how you’d like it to be distributed, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of problems emerging later down the line.
Here are our tips on how to go about it:
- Mention to your family in advance that you would like to discuss their inheritance.
- Talk to your family, individually and as a group.
- Prepare an outline of what you intend to do although be receptive to other’s views and consider changing your plans if someone has a better idea.
- Explain your goals – you may wish to leave some of your money to charity for example or put some aside for your grandchildren’s education. Explain why these matters are important to you.
- In general, it is best to treat your children equally. However, if one child has a special need or disability, and you feel it is your duty to leave more to them, ensure that your reasoning is made clear.
- Discuss your sentimental possessions and how you think that they should be distributed. Emotions can run high over these regardless of their value so take time to find out who would like what and try to reach a unanimous agreement.
- Be calm and tactful. Discussions such as these can be rewarding if children begin to reminisce over why an object is sentimental to them. However, they can also be tense and emotional so do take this into account.
- If you feel that this type of meeting may become argumentative, consider having a neutral party attend. This could be a respected family friend or a professional adviser such as your lawyer or accountant, particularly if they are going to be executor of the will as well.
Ultimately, what goes into your Will is personal, but a conversation about it now could save a lot of anguish at the probate stage.
If you are thinking about planning a Will, or would like to change an existing one, give us a call at legalmatters on 01243 216900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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