Planning to Preserve Our Children’s Relationship
Ozzie and Harriet Nelson were a real family leading a fictional life on radio and television in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As parents, we like to believe the fictional version of our family rather than facing the often messy reality.
What is the goal of estate planning? The primary purpose is to preserve our assets and direct their disposition when we are gone. However, taking a long-term view, the preservation of our children’s relationships with each other is equally important. This may be facilitated through taking an honest look at our family and planning accordingly.
If David and Ricky have squabbled like cats and dogs since they were old enough to argue, it is not a good idea to name the two of them to serve together to manage our assets. Likewise, if David has never been able to hang onto his money or keep his records straight, it makes no sense to name him as the first person to manage our affairs just because he happens to be our first-born. If Ricky has always resented what he perceives to be his big brother trying to control his life, he will most likely resent David if David is the one controlling the timing of distributions.
After we are gone, our children will no longer have us as a buffer. Effective estate planning will go a long way in helping our children maintain their relationships. It is important to take an honest look at family dynamics when setting up an estate plan.
In the long-term interest of helping our children remain civil to each other, a better choice may be to name a Private Professional Fiduciary to manage our assets when we are no longer able to do so. These licensed professionals will follow the directions set forth in our estate planning documents. At first glance, this is a more costly option than having a family member take on these responsibilities, but this cost is only financial. What price can be put on preventing a fractured relationship between David and Ricky?
For more information on estate planning, please schedule a consultation with a qualified estate planning attorney.