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Take inheritance into consideration when estate planning

One of the biggest concerns many people have when it is time to begin the estate planning process is what to leave their children, namely adult children. When deciding on what to do as far as an inheritance is concerned, there are numerous options. Michigan families have several approaches they may wish to consider to construct a fair and effective estate plan.

It has been estimated that over half the retirees in the United States plan to leave an inheritance averaging more than $176,000. This kind of inheritance plan necessitates forethought and careful consideration. While leaving adult children an equal amount is typically the norm, splitting an inheritance equally may not work for some families because of specific issues with one or more adult child. One option to avoid chaos or mismanagement of an inheritance is have an executor and a last will and testament in place.

Inheritance issues often require ongoing thought, particularly as life events impact family life. Even if a family has already laid the groundwork for a comprehensive estate plan and inheritance distribution, that plan will certainly require revisions. It is recommended that families revisit the plan every five to 10 years (or sooner, as needed) and definitely when significant life changes have occurred.

When an inheritance is left to family members, good intentions are usually behind the plan. However, poor planning, lack of communication and/or lack of refinements to a plan after life changes can create family strife. Michigan families can ensure an inheritance is handled correctly by encouraging open communication, outlining expectations and relying on legal representatives to identify and avert any potential problems in order to ensure an estate plan functions as it was intended.

Source:, Keeping the peace between adult children in estate planning", Nathaniel Sillin, April 19, 2016

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