One of the goals of estate planning is to ease the burden of your passing on your loved ones, while facilitating the distribution of your property. You always hope that your family will understand and accept your wishes, but family dynamics and emotions can get the better of them.
Estate litigation, such as contesting a will or disputing a trust, can not only tie up assets, but lead to more costs. Three things that can help avoid estate litigation:
Talk to your heirs regarding your estate plan. An explanation can go a long way in helping to minimize hurt feelings and reduce the possibility of litigation. Knowing your plans in advance can also help heirs talk out any issues that may be looming. It is often the smaller items that hold emotional value to family members that can “stir the pot,” so a conversation now can help avoid a will contest later.
2. Estate Plan Reviews
Life changes, and so should your estate plan. Events such as marriage, divorce, the death of a beneficiary ,or the birth of a child, should trigger a review of your estate planning documents. Not doing so could have unintended consequences further down the road, particularly for blended families.
3. Prepare Properly
Make sure your estate planning documents are prepared properly. Avoid the do-it-yourself, or online kits and forms. Legal documents need an attorney, not only to make sure they are properly prepared and executed, but to ensure they meet your specific needs.