Many times, I have seen family disputes arise, over money. Often at the peril of family unity. Why does this happen? Hurt feelings, love being equated to money, power and most commonly some prior and as yet unresolved family dispute.
First off, fair does not mean equal. The following generation in Canada is due to inherit more than $400 billion pre-tax in the next 12-15 years. A significant and potentially disputable amount, yet there is plenty to be distributed through the upcoming estates.
All this can be resolved, given enough time and more importantly, willing parties. Time we may have; willing parties can present more challenges.
Why – do parents want their children to fight over money? Now or after they are gone?
When – start now. The outcome may be simple but it is not easy to achieve.
What – it is incumbent upon those who have garnered wealth to ensure that they determine their wishes and determine what division of their assets is “fair”, in their view.
How – seek advice of experienced and knowledgeable advisors. This is not a DIY project, especially if a meaningful amount of assets is to be distributed. Then the second and more challenging step is to clearly communicate your wishes to the beneficiaries of your estate and ensure they understand the why and the what of your plan.
The world is getting more challenging to control your children and assets after you pass, and early planning and communication can help make this a smoother journey.
Learn, think, apply!