Dividing up your assets to ensure family harmony can be easier said than done. If you’re at the point of deciding ‘who gets what,’ here are key things to keep in mind. Ultimately, you are making a decision that can contribute to and create harmony—or provoke endless squabbling. If you’re having trouble dividing your family assets, allow us to shine some light on this sensitive topic. Let's dive into this Senior Assistance Guide on dividing assets for seniors!
If your situation is simple, you may want to consider making a will online.
However, for many people, relationships and assets are complex. The issues regarding distribution of assets amongst family are complicated and often deserve expert attention.
If you’d like to get expert advice, one of the first people to talk with is an estate planning lawyer. These professionals are highly skilled in the instruments, means, and ways to navigate the turbulent waters of asset division. They are well-equipped to offer legal tips for seniors to help ensure the entire process goes smoothly not just for you but for all those involved as well.
If you have a religious or spiritual practice, you may want to discuss distribution of assets with this person. A minister, monk, priest, rabbi, or leader is likely to have the unique objective understanding of your family, interactions, history, and issues at play. They can bring a broader perspective to the situation including historical, interpersonal, religious, and spiritual understanding.
Experienced professionals have seen it all. They have witnessed how families come together and fall apart regarding the distribution of a senior’s assets. Conflict, friction, and stress often emerge as issues of inheritance come to the foreground.
In the name of peace-of-mind, and harmony, many experts agree that advance planning helps to minimize problems and maximize harmony.
Dividing up your family assets can be tricky. Some people are more logical. Others can be more sentimental. Some members of the family may feel entitled to receive more than others. Some children may be physically or psychologically closer than others.
One or more children may live near-by the family home, and dream of raising their children in it someday. One or more children may have been more involved in caring for you and your spouse.
It seems challenging to come up with a peaceful, perfect solution. Yet, in many cases, the simplest, most gracious, and most peaceful decision is equality. Simply, leaving an equal inheritance as your legacy.
Equal distribution of your assets is a statement of harmony for your family. Equality sends a message that you seek to foster harmony. By dividing amounts equally, you are showing fairness and respect, and are sharing wealth without favoritism.
In many families, children are living all over the country or the world. If your legacy includes real estate, you’ll need to determine the value of your home and property. It can also come down to a decision about common sense.
In other words, if one child lives nearby and has 5 children yet another does not want to be a homeowner—this simplifies your decision. You could leave your family home to the first and give equivalent cash assets to the second. Differences in physical assets, such as houses, can be balanced with cash or other assets.
While many people divide family assets with the intention of leaving a generous gift, the recipients may perceive things differently.
One of the ways to protect your wishes for harmony is to include in your will a ‘no contest clause.’ Simply, this provision clearly states that if any of the beneficiaries contests the will, that person will lose his or her portion of the inheritance.
This can prevent an otherwise unhappy family member from engaging in a costly and lengthy legal battle.
Estate planning experts have been there and done that. They’ve seen how things can go smoothly, as well as how families can become torn up by contentious battles.
Here are tips on estates, wills, and trusts for seniors and how to avoid unnecessary challenges that may arise from the division of a senior’s assets.
While it can be tempting to save or invest all of our wealth for ourselves or our descendants, research shows that giving financially to others during our lifetime can bring us immense happiness and satisfaction. Not only do we get to witness the effects of our gifts on others' lives, but studies have shown that the act of giving activates regions in the brain associated with pleasure and trust. In addition, sharing our wealth with those who are less fortunate helps to level the playing field and create a more equal society. So, as we plan for our own futures, let's also think about how we can use our resources to positively impact the present. Giving freely and with joy not only benefits those around us, but it enriches our own lives as well!
The bottom line? Your decisions can promote harmony in your family. Talking to your family is a great place to start. With a clear, unswerving priority for harmony, you’ll have peace of mind in how you’re distributing your family assets.