People plan their estate to secure the future of their loved ones. Unfortunately, in some cases, estate planning can cause conflicts instead of preventing them.
Money is a leading cause of conflicts in relationships. Even if your loved ones get along fine, you need to develop a plan to prevent future conflicts over your legacy.
Follow these estate planning tips from an experienced law firm in Santa Rosa to ensure that your estate will be managed according to your wishes and prevent family fighting over your estate.
Recognize Underlying Family Conflicts
Unresolved family conflicts will come to the surface after you’re gone. Disputes can turn into ugly legal battles. Thus, it is necessary to recognize and resolve long-simmering family conflicts. If you do not want to deal with them now, build safeguards to minimize them later.
Clearly Communicate Your Specific Wishes
Many family disputes arise because estate creators fail to communicate their specific wishes. If, for instance, an estate creator passes away without specifying how they want their major assets to be handled, one heir may want to sell their assets, while the other may want to keep them in the family. These disagreements could be the cause conflicts.
Conflicts can arise if a family member claims they were promised certain assets, but the estate documents do not include any related information. Take pictures of special items that hold sentimental or historical value, such as jewelry, heirlooms, or furniture, and list who should inherit them in your will or addendum.
Appoint a Non-Family Trustee
Many people appoint a family member as the fiduciary or executor of their estate. This decision could be a mistake. When a loved one handles your trust, conflicts can arise within your family.
For this reason, many law firms recommend designating an objective professional with no legal or family interest as the trustee.
Hold a Family Meeting
Once you have an estate plan in place, hold a family meeting. Communicate all of your wishes clearly and discuss your estate plan. If you are leaving money to charity, your heirs could be resentful if they come to know about the wish after you are gone. To reduce the risk of family conflict and disputes, explain your reasons for giving your money to charity.
Want to create an estate plan but do not know where to start? Let Johnston Thomas Law, one of the best law firms in Santa Rosa, help. We have assembled an A-team of reputable attorneys who can help you create a customized estate plan to fit your specific needs. To schedule an appointment, call us at (707) 545-6542.