The idea of leaving children an even amount of funds or assets in the event of a parent’s passing may seem natural and an easy decision for parents to make. However, real life issues and varying family situations can make it a challenge to avoid conflict between adult children and parents as those parents embark on the process of creating an estate plan. There are tips to help Michigan families navigate this sensitive subject and minimize the potential for conflict.

It is important for parents creating an estate plan, or who have already created one, to know exactly what there is to split. All financial matters should be known, and significant changes to those finances should warrant updating an existing plan. Any plan should represent the current situation. Also, any varying situation between adult children may make an even split unmanageable or unfair in some way.

Once the finances are assessed and a plan is devised, there are necessary legal steps that may be taken to reinforce those plans or account for the unexpected. For example, powers of attorney may be applicable. Creating a trust may also be applicable. Adult children should be aware of these appointees and the existence of documents or plans beyond a will so there are no unsettling surprises.

Despite the best-laid plans, some Michigan families may find it impossible to prevent conflict or dissatisfaction amongst adult children. But the more prepared a family is and the more adult children know of the wishes of their parents, the greater the chance the estate plan will be effective and not decisive. Legal support with the creation and maintenance of an estate plan can be the first step to ensuring a comprehensive plan is in place during what can otherwise be a difficult time.

Source:, “Keeping the Peace Between Adult Children in Estate Planning“, Nathaniel Sillin, March 21, 2016

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