Most of our parents don’t really think about how they want their inheritance distributed to their children. Often without a lot of thought they choose to divide everything up evenly between them, regardless of their childrens’s situation. In many cases this can result in anger and hurt feelings for many years after they are gone. Let’s take a situation that I have seen very often. A daughter takes on the responsibility of watching over her parents, visiting them daily, cooking for them, driving them to their doctors and in some cases bringing them into her home or living with them. When they pass on she gets the same inheritance that her two brothers got despite her exceptional contribution to their well being and their lack of involvement.
Why does this happen so often? Because most parents don’t want to face the issues head on with their children while they are alive.They don’t want anyone to be upset. They don’t want to face a possible conflict within the family. As a result they just split everything up and let the children work it out after they are gone. The conflict and hurt feeling often arise months and years in the future.
How can your family avoid this situation if your parents don’t want to take the initiative to discuss these issues? It’s time for a family meeting and it’s often the Alpha child’s job to make sure that meeting happens. Who is the Alpha Child? That ‘s the child who takes the most interest in his/her parents, has their trust and who they will listen to. That meeting often is facilitated by a family adviser or in some cases a professional mediator. When the meeting is over, everyone understands the parents’ position and what they can expect. There are no surprises when the will is read.