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3 Tips for Preventing Family Fights Over Your Estate Plan

Posted on in Estate Planning Blog

Lombard estate planning lawyerIf you asked your children and grandchildren how they think you should divide your assets in your estate plan, you will almost certainly get many different answers. Some of your family might suggest dividing everything equally—most likely without any idea of how to figure out what constitutes “equally.” Others might defer to you entirely since after all, it is your property that is being discussed.

Ironically, the people in your life who say that you should do what you want with your estate plan are likely to be the ones who get upset when they realize they did not receive the inheritance they expected upon your death. Fortunately, an experienced estate planning lawyer can provide the guidance you need to stop family fights about your estate plan before they even begin.

Decide on Your Priorities

According to the law in Illinois, you absolutely have the right to do whatever you wish with the assets and property that comprise your estate. However, it is a good idea for you to at least think about how your decisions are likely going to affect your surviving family members. You may reach the conclusion that you do not care who you upset with your choices since you will not be around to hear about it. Again, you have that right. On the other hand, it may be more important for you to take steps to promote family unity and stable relationships in the wake of your passing. There is a good chance that your estate planning choices could affect your family positively or negatively after your death. You should choose wisely.

Take Time to Think

You should not rush the estate planning process just to be done with it. Depending on the estate planning tools that are needed for your situation, you may need to select an executor, powers of attorney, and trustees for any trusts you plan to create. These choices should be made with care to avoid personal and professional conflicts of interest, as well as ensure that the individuals you have selected are up for the task. It is also a good idea to select people who have earned the trust of your heirs and other family members so that the estate administration process can go smoothly.

Likewise, careful thought is necessary when deciding how to allocate your assets to your heirs. An equal division may sound like a good idea, but unless you want your estate to be sold off and the money divided, “equal” is a fairly vague concept. For example, leaving a car valued at $10,000 to one of your children and $10,000 in cash to another may seem equal because of the dollar values. However, depending on the situation, each child’s needs, and even the sentimental value of the car may alter the perception of equality for your children.

Avoid Keeping Secrets

It will not be easy to discuss your estate plan with your family, but doing so is one of the keys to preventing future disagreements. Talking about things now will remove the element of surprise when your estate plan is executed down the road. Be forthcoming about your choices, explain your motivations, and give your family the chance to ask questions. Based on such conversations, you may decide to make changes to your estate plan in order to promote healthier relationships when you are gone.

Call a DuPage County Wills and Trusts Lawyer

If you have additional questions about the process of estate planning in Illinois, the team at A. Traub & Associates can help you find the answers. Contact one of our experienced Lombard estate planning lawyers to discuss your situation today. We have the knowledge and skills to help your family prepare for the future and to avoid unnecessary drama along the way. Call 630-426-0196 for an appointment today.

 

Sources:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-make-sure-your-estate-plan-wont-cause-a-family-fight-2018-10-30

https://www.thebalance.com/tips-for-avoiding-a-will-contest-3505204

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