One of the best things about working with an experienced legal team as you do your estate planning is that you can think of the big picture. You may be making your estate plans for the first and only time, but someone who has seen various estate plans in action can provide inside information that can help guide your decisions.
In particular, experienced guidance can help you avoid disputes over your estate amongst your heirs.
Estate disputes do not have to happen
For instance, many siblings wind up locked in estate disputes. These can ruin family relationships for years or decades to come. How do you avoid them? Here are a few tips that can help:
- Make everything in your plan very clear. A dispute that revolves around two siblings saying that you wanted them to have the same asset is easily avoided when your plan doesn’t simply tell them to “divide assets evenly” but actually states who gets each item.
- Consider giving things to your heirs even before your estate plan kicks in. This helps because it’s clear that you’re doing what you really wanted to do, and heirs who have a problem with it can talk to you directly.
- Don’t put one of your heirs in charge of distributing assets. Doing so is easy and common, and it can work, but it may make disputes more likely. If a third party is in charge, they are clearly not biased.
- Talk to your heirs about what they want and what they expect. Make sure the entire family is on the same page. In a best-case scenario, nothing in your estate plan will be a surprise because they’ll know what the plan says as well as you do.
As you do all of this, just be sure you know what steps are required to set your estate plan up the way that you want it.