Tips for a Contest-Free Will

Tips for a Contest-Free WillOne of the most difficult things you’ll do as you get older is prepare the documents for when you’re gone. According to AARP Magazine, boomer parents—the sub-sect of the population rapidly headed for retirement and Social Security collection—are slated to leave their children about $30 trillion over the next 30 to 40 years. “That number will rise or fall depending on many factors,” reports AARP, “including the economy, the markets, how long we parents live and so on… [but] it’s likely to be a considerable chunk of change.” Deciding how to split your assets among your children can be a daunting task, especially if you have competitive or at-odds kids. But there are some important things to keep in mind if you want to do it right. The first, of course, is to contact an estate-planning lawyer.

The first piece of advice given by AARP to those ready to begin drafting inheritance documents is to “manage expectations with open communication.” That means talking openly about what assets you have that will be passed down. “A recent survey from Fidelity Investments showed that adult children underestimated the value of their parents’ estates by a tidy $100,000,” according to AARP. This doesn’t mean that you need to divulge all your sensitive financial information to your children, just that they should be in the loop when it comes to ballpark figures. Remember to have a conversation about where you expect this money to go—and make provisos for your own medical care, “as well as clear instructions about whom to contact and where important papers are kept.”

The other major pieces of advice from AARP all deal with making sure that your children feel as if you’re being fair—even if you decide to distribute things unequally. Being open with your children can help curb resentment after you’re gone, and being sure that you “do the distributing yourself” can help ensure that nothing goes wrong out of your control.

When you’re ready to begin drafting your will or figuring your trust, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois estate-planning attorney today.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /