For many people, estate planning is a frightening endeavor. It involves thinking about your own declining health and death, as well as how your family is going to move on without you. Even those who create an estate plan may not realize the real world implications of it, though, especially as it relates to family relationships. Without a focus on this aspect of estate planning, your loved ones could end up fighting over various parts of your estate, which could lead to a broken family. You certainly don’t want that.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent family disputes. Consider the following:
- Include heirs and beneficiary in discussions about estate planning. By doing so, you mitigate the risk of creating the appearance that one heir has more control over your decisions. Including your heirs in the conversation can also clarify your intentions. If your intent is to keep things fair, then stress that to your heirs so that they know how much thought you put into your plan and what the legacy expectations are moving forward.
- Have a holistic and clear estate plan. Ambiguities and vagueness can wreak havoc on your estate planning intentions by leaving important terms open to dispute. This increases the risk of conflict as your loved ones try to jockey for what they think is fair. It might also render your estate plan unenforceable.
- Utilize a letter of instruction. As we discussed previously, this document can make clear why your estate plan is drafted the way it is while at the same time laying out your wishes and goals for your loved ones and your estate. This may be especially important if you decide to modify your estate plan at some point without discussing it with your heirs.
Estate planning is a delicate matter. To carry it out successfully, you need to be thorough and possess a lot of foresight. This can be challenging to do, especially when you’re not familiar with the legal process. This is why the assistance of an experienced attorney can prove beneficial in setting you, your loved ones, and your estate for the future you envision.