When it comes to family, dysfunction tends to be a way of life, particularly in this age of blended families, stepfamilies, former spouses, and estranged children from different relationships. Emotions tend to run high during a stressful and sad event such as the loss of a loved one, which can result in family disputes over the various aspects of your estate. While there is no foolproof way to avoid these disputes, there are steps that you can take to minimize friction among your family members.
One type of common family dispute that arises in the context of estate administration is when one or more family members believe that they have been unfairly left out of a will or not left as many as assets as another family member. A good way to help avoid this situation may be to meet with your immediate family members, whether individually or as a group, and talk to them about your estate plan and what it contains. By being up-front about your choices and reasons for those choices, you can ensure that there will be no surprises after you pass away, at least in terms of the content of your estate plan. If you are able to explain the reasons behind your estate plan in advance, you may be able to prevent hard feelings between family members.
Other family disputes may arise when an heir perceives that your named executor or trustee is not performing his or her duties properly. Again, letting your family members know in advance about whom you have chosen as executor, as well as your reasons for doing so, can go a long way toward preventing tension among family members following your death. You may also want to consider appointing co-executors or co-trustees, who must work together to make all decisions and hold one another accountable. Even if there is bad blood between a family member and one co-executor, the other co-executor may have a better relationship with that family member.
Whether you are seeking to avoid conflicts among your children or have another objective in mind for your estate plan, you need an attorney who can provide you the help necessary to create an estate plan that is right for you and your family. Taking this step will alleviate problems with your assets in the future, which can be costly, time-consuming, and complex. At Legacy Law Center, our Ann Arbor elder law attorneys can help you through any situations that may arise as you work through the estate planning process.
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