Inheritance disputes are quite common in many families, and they are usually caused by various factors. People are encouraged to write their will when they are of sound body and mind, but even these can be contested by the beneficiaries if they are not satisfied with the way the estate is divided.
It is never a good idea to leave your family in conflict over your wealth, so you must take preventive action, if possible. Read on to learn some effective tips on how to prevent inheritance disputes.
List Your Assets
The first thing that you should do when planning your estate is to list your assets and other valuable personal belongings. The events that often surround the death of a breadwinner in the family are emotionally charged since everyone will be interested in knowing what they will get.
You should not assume that everyone will go along with your decision, so be sure to start by making a list of everything that you own. Hiding a property or valuable asset will only make matters worse, causing inheritance disputes after your passing. There are also various measures that you can take to structure your plan to prevent disputes, which brings us to the next point.
Create an Estate Plan
It is essential to create an estate plan or a will so that you can leave a legacy for your family, one that will help secure their financial future when you are gone. You need to write a will while you are still in good health and avoid doing it under duress.
A will can be disputed if other members of the family believe that the will-maker was not in sound mind when they created it. If the person who disputes the validity of your will wins, the laws of intestacy will be used to distribute your estate.
To avoid such a scenario where your estate plan is disputed, you must seek legal advice when writing your will. If you live in Erie, different expert attorneys can help you write a sound estate plan.
You need to contact a professional lawyer when estate planning in Erie to prevent a situation where your family members disagree on the distribution of your assets. You will also preserve your peace of mind when you enlist the services of a professional.
Discuss Your Estate Plan
Family meetings are effective in preventing conflicts that may arise over your estate. You must set goals and hold a meeting with your family to explain your decisions, and the intended beneficiaries can also ask questions about your will.
If there are any issues, you can clarify them while you still can rather than leave your family members in discord after your passing. You must also name your trustee who will be responsible for handling your estate plan and making sure the beneficiaries are clear on how the assets will be distributed.
Understand Joint Ownership
A will does not affect assets that are jointly owned or where a beneficiary is clearly named. These items automatically go to the named beneficiary or the co-owner. You must think carefully before adding a child or any other family member to your bank accounts to avoid having other members contest the decision.
Clarify Your Decisions
You must clarify any decision that might be perceived as unequal treatment in your will to prevent disputes that are likely to arise when you are gone. While you love your family, it may be impossible for everyone to get an equal amount of money and other assets.
You have the right to decide what each person should get since that is the purpose of a will after all. However, you should write letters to each beneficiary that you will include in your will explaining the reasons why you decide to bequeath certain assets to them or others.
Update Your Estate Plan
You need to update your estate plan after any life-changing event to prevent disputes among your children and beneficiaries. For instance, in different jurisdictions, a will is considered invalid if the will-maker remarries and leaves a will that was written during their previous marriage.
You need to create a new one, or you will die intestate. When a new baby is born in the family, you need to take that into account and make sure you distribute your estate equally. Inheritance issues can cause conflicts in families if not handled well.
Family members may not agree on what each person should get when the breadwinner passes away. A will is a crucial document that can help prevent such disputes, however, its validity can still be challenged. But the good news is that there are different steps that you can take to minimize the chances of conflicts over your estate when you pass away.
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