Estate disputes are something that parents often want to avoid when leaving money to their direct heirs, such as their children and grandchildren. They want these people to seamlessly transition into the next stage of life and get along well for decades to come. An estate dispute can drive a wedge between people that is hard to overcome.
So, how can these parents avoid estate disputes? There are a few tactics that can be used:
Create an estate plan
First and foremost, one of the top reasons for estate disputes is when there isn’t a will or estate plan at all. This leaves it up to the heirs to make decisions about what to do or what their parent would have actually wanted. Disputes are almost inevitable in a situation like this, so creating a plan initially is perhaps the most important step.
Discuss the plan early
Additionally, once the plan has been created, it’s best to talk about it in advance. In fact, some people will even give gifts to their heirs while they are still alive. Addressing things in this manner means that the parent can work with the siblings regarding any disputes or disagreements. Parents may also want to simply leave a letter of instruction that clearly expresses their wishes, backing up the instructions given in the will.
Address minor items
Another thing to remember is that many minor items have sentimental value. Parents will sometimes only address major assets like a home or an investment account. But it’s also good to divvy up these minor items so that heirs don’t have to make decisions or get into arguments about things to which they have an emotional connection.
Estate planning is important and complex. Those involved need to know exactly what options they have.