Williamsburg Estate Planning Lawyers on The Best Ways to Divide Assets Among Beneficiaries

As a parent, you want to ensure that your children will not struggle when you pass away, and you are not there to help them. Williamsburg estate planning lawyers know that it is hard enough to cope with the loss of a loved one without factoring in any additional financial burdens.

However, splitting your assets can become tricky if you have multiple children, multiple families, or dependents. For many families, the answer is not necessarily equal distributions. Alternative planning may be necessary to divide the inheritance in such a way as to address unique family concerns or circumstances. Explore some of the most common situations below:

Based on Needs

Perhaps one of your children is in a better financial situation than another. One beneficiary might run a successful business while the other is drowning in debt, working in an honorable but low-paying job, or struggling to provide for their family. You may feel the second child could benefit from a larger share to be truly “equal” with the other sibling.

The good news is that you can divide your assets based on which child you believe needs them the most. A word of caution: while this is perfectly legal, it has the tendency to cause hard feelings and family disputes. If you are considering this route, talk to your beneficiaries ahead of time to explain your reasoning and help ensure that everyone understands the rationale for your decisions. However, remember that inheritance is a GIFT not a RIGHT.

Split Proceeds from the Sale of Property

Another option to consider while deciding how to divide your assets among your beneficiaries is to sell everything that might be a conflict. You could include instructions on selling your home, cars, and other property upon your death so your children can split the proceeds for those assets potentially in conflict.

This could also be an excellent method to use if your beneficiaries would benefit more from receiving money than property. They might already have homes to live in, and cars to drive, and would benefit more from having money in their bank accounts but might feel guilty for selling the “family property”. Instead of inheriting assets or property that they do not need, they can inherit the proceeds they can use to supplement their living expenses and other necessities.

Reimburse Your Caregiver

It is not unusual for one sibling to assume the responsibility of mom or dad’s care. The aging parent may move in with the adult child, or the adult child may take care of the parents’ transportation and day-to-day needs. As such, the parent(s) may wish to reimburse the child for any expenses or time incurred. It is not uncommon for the caregiver to receive a special dollar amount for their time, or if the child moved into the parents’ home and gave up their own to do so, the parent may consider leaving them the home. Then any inheritance after that bequest is divided among the beneficiaries.

Still Unsure?

If you are creating an estate plan and do not know the best way to divide your assets fairly among your beneficiaries, contact our estate planning lawyers throughout Williamsburg, the Peninsula, and Southside in Virginia today. You will receive the guidance you need and learn about all the available options to make the decisions that work best for you and your children or loved ones. For assistance getting started, contact us at (757) 645-3176 or (866) 603-5976.