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How do the kids fit into estate planning?

Many Delaware residents between the ages of 53 and 71 may make up part of the 60 percent of baby boomers who have already made arrangements for the distribution of their property after death. The other 40 percent may still be considering how best to leave their assets to their children. Fortunately, estate planning provides numerous methods for achieving their goals.

The ages of a Delaware resident's children would influence how assets are left to each of them. Leaving assets to a minor child would be vastly different than leaving them to an adult child. Parents may want to take into consideration the spending habits and financial abilities of each child before making a decision regarding how to distribute assets.

Some people recommend leaving less to a successful child and more to a child who struggles financially. Others believe that a successful child should not be punished for doing well while rewarding one who struggles. In some cases, a child who is doing well may agree to receive a smaller portion of a parent's estate knowing the circumstances of another child. However, it might help keep the children from arguing after death to have open discussions with all of them regarding the estate.

After considering all relevant factors and discussing the matter with the adult children, estate planning can begin. Creating documents that meet the goals of the parents and limit the potential for fighting among the children may require a delicate balance in some cases. Ultimately, however, the final say belongs to the parent. After spending a lifetime acquiring wealth and assets, the parent should be comfortable and at peace with any decisions memorialized in the documents.

Source: CBS Boston, "Over The Hill: Where There Is A Will There Is Way!," Dee Lee, Aug. 10, 2017

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