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Explaining an inheritance to your beneficiaries

Putting together your estate plan is never easy. Naturally, one of the most difficult things in creating an estate plan is dolling out the inheritance to your beneficiaries.

You have the right to do whatever you please with your money upon your death, that's why you get to make the estate plan based on your thoughts and no one else's. But, finding creative ways to distribute your money to your children could wind up causing a lot of family problems.

It's important to sit down with your children now and explain your decisions as clearly as possible. You don't have to sit down as a whole family, but it's best to speak with each child so they know what to expect when the time comes. Leaving nothing a surprise will make dealing with your loss just a little easier.

If you truly aren't comfortable talking to your children about your decisions in person, however, you could leave them a letter. The letter can be read by your estate planning attorney when the reading of the will occurs. Either way, it's important to offer your children an explanation of your decisions so that they can better understand -- and accept -- your wishes.

It can be impossible to leave each child the same amount of money, especially if you make your decision based on their individual needs, such as the need to buy a home or start a business. The investments on either of these will differ years from now, turning them into values that are not nearly the same as each other.

Deciding how much money or which asset you will leave your adult children when you are gone can be tremendously complicated. That's why it's important to talk to an experienced attorney about your estate planning options while you still can. It could save a lot of anguish and anger after you are gone.

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