Preventing Potential Family Conflicts with Your Estate Plan

happy family

estate planning terms on tabletThe steps taken in the course of estate planning can have a huge impact on your entire family. Each and every decision relating to your trust and will greatly affect your children, spouse, and others close to you for a long time to come. That’s why it’s crucial that you make decisions related to your estate plan with a lot of thought and consideration.

Reasons for Conflicts

Not having a proper estate plan can make things extremely complex, often causing fighting over who gets what. The probate process is both complicated and time-consuming. Without a valid will family members deal with their own needs, based on what they think they deserve.

A majority of parents feel uncomfortable about discussing money matters with their heirs. Only about one-fourth of parents discuss their estate plans with their children. If beneficiaries aren’t informed about what to expect, they may develop unrealistic expectations. Further, this may lead heirs to believe that they were cheated out of their inheritance by other relatives.

You may be forced to make difficult choices to exclude certain family members from your estate plan. Giving more to one family member than another could lead to strong feelings of resentment. About forty percent of heirs thought that the distribution of their parents’ estate was unfair. If a family member is disinherited or will receive significantly less than others, they may contest whether or not it was the decedent’s true intention.

Moreover, if your will is inconsistent, inaccurate or ambiguous this could lead to unhappy beneficiaries contesting the will.

Reasons not to Have Conflicts

Contesting a will can cause serious emotional, social and financial implications. Contesting the will can create ill will, resentment, and anger towards other family members. Disputes often rip families apart, breaking even the strongest familial bonds. Additionally, conflicts prolong the distribution of assets to all beneficiaries. Contesting a will is time consuming, often taking months or years.

In estate contests, it’s estimated that the disputing parties don’t end up gaining anything extra ninety percent of the time. Legal fees typically exceed any additional assets that contestants manage to get transferred to them.

How to Avoid Conflicts

The probate process can be completely avoided with the creation of a proper estate plan. Your heirs should be aware of how to find your will and trust.

You should have open and continuous communication about your estate plan. Carefully explain all your intentions and reasoning. Permit your family members to discuss their feelings regarding your intentions. Then, take the time to answer any questions, while you’re still able to. All of this permits your loved ones to be realistically prepared and plan accordingly.

If you are aware of any family dynamics that may cause a conflict with your estate plan, work to minimize potential problems. Divide your estate as equally as possible, avoiding the temptation to give more to needy family members. If your estate plan is fair, thorough, and consistent, it should help avoid conflict.

Additionally, have good reasoning for choosing your executor. For example, choosing the oldest child, or one with specific financial or legal skills.

Get Assistance with Your Estate Planning

Although estate planning may be demanding, Feldman Law Group is here to help you. Our experienced estate planning attorney can carefully craft a plan to avoid any potential conflicts and minimize challenges.

We know all the necessary steps to prevent disputes over your estate. Just be honest with us about your family dynamics and potential issues. Working with a skilled Walnut Creek estate planning attorney, to account for all your assets and decisions, will provide you with peace of mind.

Call today at (925) 208-4543 or contact us online to discuss your estate plan in detail.


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