One of the biggest issues that older people face is how to divide up their estate in a way that is fair to all potentialheirs. In the event that one heir helped to build a business or took other steps that helped grow the estate, how do parents ensure that the heir who is directly responsible for that growth gets what they deserve?
The key is to create an estate plan that ensures that all heirs get an equitable percentage of their estate. For example, the heir that worked in the family business will inherit that business while the other child will inherit a certain amount of cash or other sentimental property that may have cash value if sold.
One issue to consider is that while assets from a family business may not be subject to probate, cash and property may be used to pay any outstanding debt that the dying parent leaves behind. Therefore, it may be advantageous to use a trust instead of a simple will. With a trust, a parent can add conditions that need to be met before an inheritance is received. Conditions can also be added that pass assets to the next of kin if the intended heir dies and the estate does not want the assets to go to the heir's spouse.
There is never a bad time to create an estate plan. Proper planning today may increase the odds that heirs inherit what the person who created the plan intended them to receive. Talking to a probate attorney may make it easier to craft a document that would hold up to legal scrutiny while protecting family assets for future generations.