Almost inevitably, problems arise when someone dies without an estate plan. Family members must guess what the deceased would want. Disagreements can prolong the process and lead to quarrels that may last for years. In California, courts may end up making key decisions. Do not let this happen to your family.
Some families are more prone to estate clashes than others. Your family may have issues if members have dealt with addictions, poor financial habits or ongoing strife. Blended families are especially vulnerable.
No matter what your situation is, you can benefit from proper estate planning. Thinking about your legacy now allows you to take care of your family even after you are gone. Some factors may complicate matters, but you can take measures to avoid disputes.
Will your estate plan seem wrong?
Your estate plans should not contain surprises. If what is on paper seems contrary to what you have said in the past, that may be a red flag to your family.
In some cases, the family thinks how you have divided assets is unfair. This is especially common if your plan leaves out someone important or does not account for a valuable asset. Those omissions can seem like errors, which can undermine confidence in the rest of the plan.
What may your descendants do?
Descendants may contest your estate plan if they believe they should get more than the plan specifies. Challengers may sue the estate, which can lead to mediation or litigation. Dissatisfied heirs may take a less formal route, pressuring others to forfeit or share their inheritance.
How can you avoid conflicts?
Communicate now so loved ones can avoid conflict later. Your beneficiaries will be less likely to challenge your decisions if they understand them. Let family members know your wishes and explain the reasoning behind them. Be sure you have a solid, thorough estate plan that will stand up under scrutiny, and consider appointing a professional executor or trustee rather than assigning the task to a family member.