Should children know what they’re going to inherit when you die?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Estate Planning

Those putting together an estate plan have to think carefully about the relationships that they’ve had with their family members and other loved ones. They typically need to very carefully evaluate their financial circumstances to see what resources they can offer and then familiarize themselves with the rules for estate administration and inheritance in Nevada.

Technically, children do not have an automatic right to inherit property from an estate unless someone dies without a will or other documents on record. Parents may choose to leave as much or as little of their resources to their children and grandchildren as they wish. Is it necessary to disclose what the children will inherit to them as individuals or a group?

Transparency reduces surprise-based litigation

It is a natural assumption on the part of many children to expect that they will inherit a portion of their parent’s property, possibly split evenly with their siblings. When the actual terms of someone’s estate plan deviate from that expectation, family members may become emotional and may decide to take legal action. Those who expect to inherit from an estate may initiate probate litigation challenging the validity of the testamentary documents because they are upset and disappointed.

Therefore, having earnest discussions about one’s true plans could prevent a conflict that could damage the family and diminish the resources that will pass to the next generation. Many testators benefit from talking individually with their children about their inheritances and also discussing the matter as a whole with the family. That way, everyone understands what to expect when the testator dies, and people will have had time to come to terms with someone’s last wishes.

That being said, there is no legal requirement to disclose the decision to disinherit a child or other likely beneficiary before a one dies. So long as testators follow the right process when disinheriting someone, they have the final say in who receives the property from their estate. They can choose to forgo those difficult conversations and let the family settle the matter after their death, should they so choose.

Those concerned about eliminating a risk of legal challenges and family conflict may find that discussing their estate planning decisions with loved ones is the best choice, but unique situations require bespoke solutions. Understanding how people approach different matters related to estate planning may help testators more effectively protect themselves and their wishes.