Inefficient estate planning can cause family feuds leading to costly and time consuming litigation. Various strategies may help to reduce the likelihood of an estate battle after you die.
What is Fair?
Disputes often result when parents try to be fair in transferring assets to their children. Equally splitting the family business 50/50 among one’s children may cause tension if one sibling is heavily invested in the family business and the other is not. A more appropriate distribution would focus on what makes sense for the individual you are transferring the asset to.
Each sibling’s interests, wants and needs are unique.
The individual circumstances of each child should be considered when planning how to distribute assets.
Openness and Transparency
Future legal battles and family tension may be avoided by exercising openness and transparency when discussing your estate plan.
If necessary, establishing accurate expectations prior to your death can help prevent unnecessary misunderstandings or resentment among family members.
An individual may wish to place assets in a revocable living trust. The settlor of the trust (the person who transferred the assets into the trust) will still have access to the money during their lifetime and those assets are not be subject to the probate process.
This clause can serve to reduce the chances of challenge as it states that if a beneficiary contests the Will, their inheritance is to be forfeited.
Appoint a Professional Trustee
If an estate is especially large or contentious, appointing a professional estate trustee, such as a lawyer or trust company, may be desirable.
A professional trustee is a neutral party without emotional connection or bias and therefore is able to help defuse tension between family members.
We can help.