Legal disputes arising during the probate process, the legal process of administering a deceased person's…
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It is unfortunately common for families to get into heated arguments over inheritances and estates of their deceased loved ones.
In some situations, these disputes can tear families apart and cause lifelong feuds.
Even if you assume your family will handle the issue of their inheritances maturely, it is a good idea to ensure you are doing everything possible with your estate plan to prevent disputes from arising. Here are a few tips to help you accomplish this.
Choose the right executor
Carefully consider who you want to be the representative of your estate. Many parents simply hand the task to their oldest child, but you should carefully consider who of your relatives or close friends is best suited for the role. Your executor should be extremely organized, willing and able to put in a lot of hard work, honest and great with communication. An executor with all these qualities will be a big help in preventing disputes after your passing.
Make your loved ones aware of your estate plan’s contents
In many cases, the disputes that arise after the death of a loved one happen because people were blindsided by the contents of the estate plan. It is natural for people to feel disappointed or hurt when they do not get what they expect. Therefore, you should do your best to avoid creating any surprises.
In addition to telling your loved ones individually about your plans, you should attempt to schedule a time where you can have your entire family sit down together and discuss your wishes and the contents of your estate plan. It is not a conversation that is always going to be easy to have, but it can go a long way toward preventing hard feelings after your death. It also gives you a chance to clarify any decisions about which your family might have questions.
This also helps to ensure none of your family members will challenge the validity of your will, if they know for a fact its contents are exactly what you wanted.
Do not let your loved ones work with your lawyer
Your lawyer should be as independent as possible throughout the estate planning process. If your family members go with you to your meetings with your attorney or have a way to contact them, other family members who do not have this same access might become suspicious of their influence over you and be more likely to challenge your will or start arguments. All conversations with your attorney should be private so you can be completely free to express your actual wishes without having to worry about who is listening or how their presence could be perceived.
For more estate planning tips to make matters easier on you and your family, work with an experienced Ohio estate planning lawyer at Seif & McNamee, LLC.