An Estate Planning Lawyer Abingdon, VA Discusses Estate Disputes
Most people have heard of at least one horror story that involves a family being torn apart because of a dispute over inheritances. Children fighting with a stepparent over the family home, siblings fighting with one another; things can get ugly very fast. While the majority of families do not have a serious argument over an inheritance, money can bring out a different side that you might have never thought existed.
When you draw up an estate plan, your Abingdon VA estate planning lawyer might discuss whether or not a family dispute is possible. If you think it is, he or she can give you advice on how to prevent a serious dispute from arising. You can also encourage harmony among family members by taking a few simple steps.
How can I prevent a family dispute over my estate plan?
1. Carefully Choose Your Estate’s Executor: It is common for parents to automatically choose the oldest child to be the executor of the estate, even when they might not be suited to the task. Your executor should be someone who is responsible, honest, organized, patient, and a good communicator. They should also be of sound mind. In taking these steps, beneficiaries of the estate may feel more trusting of the situation and are less likely to become anxious about everything that is going on.
2. Try Avoiding Unexpected Surprises: When you create your estate plan, it may be a good idea to make your decisions known while you are alive. Sit with your family and explain to them who will get the family china, why your son will get less because you bought him a new car, and that your niece gets to choose something special, but that the piece itself won’t be specified in the will. This step can help to avoid disappointment, hurt feelings, and frustration.
3. Bear in mind that you might get some unwanted feedback or criticism for your wishes, but this should not alter the way you feel. If a beneficiary begins to coerce you to change the estate plan in any way, there is a chance that a dispute could arise. An Abingdon VA estate planning lawyer can help you to understand this during a meeting.
4. Consult with a Lawyer Whom You Trust: It is recommended to consult with an estate planning lawyer for any estate planning advice or to draft the legal documents. Even if you would like to draw up your own estate plan, a lawyer can review it to ensure everything is legally accurate. You may want to keep your client/attorney relationship independent from outside influence. For example, you may not want to have an Abingdon VA lawyer who has very different views from that of your own. You might also not want to retain a lawyer who is also your best friend.
Final tips to consider to help you avoid a family dispute:
- Talk with an estate planning lawyer Abingdon VA clients trust alone, without family members or friends
- Make sure you keep your estate plan up-to-date
- If you have significant assets, worth over $1 million, you might want to consider a living trust
- Avoid making someone the co-owner of a property or account if you intend to leave it to someone else
- Provide guidance on the distribution of sentimental items
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