If you are in the process of creating an estate plan, and you have adult children, you are probably trying to figure out the best way to approach handling your children in your plan. Although only you and your estate planning attorney can ultimately decide how you want to address your children in your estate plan, consider the following “dos” and “don’ts” as you go about the process of creating your plan.
- Don’t assume that you are required to treat each child the same. This does not mean you can’t treat them as equals.
- Do consider the strengths and weaknesses of each child when creating your plan.
- Do be honest with yourself when you evaluate each child.
- Do choose the best person for the job. If you are deciding who should be the executor of your Last Will and Testament, for example, pick the person who is best qualified, has the time and is willing to serve.
- Don’t feel like you have to create “co” positions, such as co-trustee, just to be fair. In reality, this often simply complicated the administration of your estate or a trust you have created.
- Don’t hesitate to create a trust if you have a child who has a history of drug/alcohol abuse, is heavily in debt or is disabled. Not doing so is not in their best interest or yours.
- Do consider the needs of each child. If one child needs your home more than another, it is fine to give him or her the home. Just give the other child the equivalent in cash.