Unfortunately, family feuds that center around someone’s will or trust are a tale as old as time. Even if this is not something you have personally experienced, you may have heard a few horror stories. While family squabbles after the death of a loved one are not always avoidable, there are a few strategies that can be utilized to decrease the possibility:
- If you have dependents, plan for the “what if.”
Many people in their early 20s and 30s do not spend much time thinking about an estate plan. However, if you have minor children, it is critical to choose who will care for them if you pass away or become incapacitated. Once you decide, discuss your wishes with all parties involved. For example, if you are leaving your children to one set of grandparents, it is a good idea to explain that decision to the other grandparents. This can ease a lot of hurt feelings and potentially avoid a court battle if that time should ever come.
- When you come up with a plan, make it legal!
We’ve seen this sad situation quite a bit; there was a plan and it was discussed, but never legally documented. After talking to your loved ones about your plan, you need to make it legal. That way there are no questions or arguments after you pass away.
- Unequal distributions of assets can cause the biggest heartache.
Many people choose to leave their assets to their children in equal shares. In this scenario, things tend to go smoothly. But, there are many reasons why you may avoid dividing your assets in this way. For example, you may have a child with special needs that requires more money to maintain his or her level of care. If you choose to leave unequal shares, give an explanation to everyone involved so they know the reasons. This could help save your children’s relationships with one another.
- Choose your Executor or Trustee with care.
Your loved ones may be hurt by the fact that they were not trusted to serve as the Executor or Trustee of your estate. This may cause a conflict between the person chosen and the other beneficiaries. Make sure that you choose your executor or trustee with care, and explain your decisions. It may even be best to choose a neutral third-party to serve in this role if you believe it will cause problems after you are gone.
When it comes to inheritance conflict, we’ve seen just about everything. That experience helps us guide you through the “tricky” situations that may cause your family to squabble after you are gone.