A family fight over an estate can be destructive but a good estate plan can reduce the chances of that battle beginning.
It is a fact of life that all fights cannot be avoided but there are steps that can reduce the chances of conflict over an estate, according to the Lodi News-Sentinel in "Avoid family fights over inheritance."
Among the steps are:
- Plan ahead of time. You should have an estate plan in place long before you think you will need one. Sudden deaths happen and it could happen to you. If you have no estate plan, you practically invite your family to fight over your estate.
- Consider irrevocable trusts. At some point your family might start thinking about what will happen to your estate after you pass away and they might start angling for position in the estate. If you have planned ahead and have an irrevocable trust, then you will not be as easily influenced to change plans to accommodate everyone.
- Use a professional trustee. Instead of appointing a family member to be in charge of your trust after you pass away, use a professional who will remain independent and treat everyone in the family equally.
- Hold a family meeting. Bring everyone together and let them know what your plans are and why you made them. Family members who are surprised by your estate plans after you pass away are more likely to argue.
An estate planning attorney can help you set up an estate plan that meets your unique circumstances.
Reference: Lodi News-Sentinel (Nov. 7, 2016) "Avoid family fights over inheritance."