Disputes about the disposition of an estate can cause significant disruption to family relationships. People who feel excluded or treated unfairly may come to resent family members who inherited more than they did. Furthermore, they may attempt to invalidate a will, thereby delaying the distribution of assets until a court resolves the contested issues.
When you start the process of estate planning, you may want to consider what you can do to avoid creating contention among your family. Here are some ways to proactively prevent disputes about your estate.
Talk to your family about your estate
Discussing your final wishes with your family may seem like an uneasy topic. However, it may be beneficial to talk to your loved ones about provisions in your will that they may find surprising. Explaining your reasoning will help people to understand your perspective.
Appoint a trustworthy executor
Your family will feel more comfortable about your final wishes when the executor of your will is someone who they feel that they can trust. An executor should be relatively impartial and should not have problematic relationships with your family members.
Make provisions about specific items of personal property
Your estate plan should include instructions about belongings that have sentimental value to certain family members. Ambiguities about items that have significance could be the subject of dispute, so you should clarify your wishes explicitly.
Ultimately, open discussion and careful planning can be helpful in avoiding disputes about an estate. Take care to spare your family from arguments or litigation that could cause them to experience distress in a time of grief.