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Posted: 11/21/2017 Posted by:

Minimizing Inheritance Conflict

Categories: Estate Planning & Probate

A major conflict regarding inheritance is one of the major issues that can occur after an individual’s passing. These conflicts typically occur when surviving inheritors aren’t certain of what the deceased individual truly wanted. If there is no will or estate, the intestate disbursement may not necessarily be fair to all concerned. Additionally, these conflicts can last years and are costly to the inheritors and the estate.

Always Create an Estate Plan

Without an estate plan, you have no ability to control where your assets go. Your inheritance will be split along legal lines, which may not necessarily be fair and equitable to family members who have contributed more to the family, or, specifically, to your care. There may also be specific items that you intended to go to specific people; without an estate, there is no way to know.

Many people end up without an estate plan for two reasons: they think they have more time to do so, or they think estate planning is only necessary for those with substantial assets. Neither is true. It’s easy to keep putting off estate planning.  Estate planning is for anyone concerned about their family’s future.

Explain Your Estate Plan to Your Children

Most family members will understand the logic behind your estate plan as long as you are transparent and clear about it. Otherwise, they may not understand why one person received more than another. As an example, you might choose to give more cash to one child but give a car that truly matters to you to another.

Explaining your rationale will tell you what your family members want as well. For instance, your child may not want the vehicle – not because they are feeling rejection –  but because they feel they can’t adequately take care of it. You may find that another child wants it more.

Update Your Estate Plan on a Regular Basis

Finally, one of the most common conflicts occurs when an estate plan has not been updated to reflect a current situation. For instance, a younger child may not be on the receiving end of items of importance to the family simply because he or she was born after the estate plan was developed. The way to avoid future conflict is to modify your estate plan after every life-changing event like the birth of a child.

Your estate plan may be the last thing you think about during these types of events, but it’s important. It’s especially important when people are married or divorced when grandchildren are born, and when children or grandchildren have significant life changes.

Creating an estate plan is the only way to reduce time-consuming, costly conflict.  For more information about estate planning and ensuring family members’ wishes are carried out conflict-free, contact the Covelli Law Offices.