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Careful Estate Planning Can Stop Family Fights Before They Start

 Posted on December 24, 2020 in Estate Planning Blog

Lombard estate planning lawyerIt seems that at least a dozen times a year, we hear of families fighting over the distribution of assets of a deceased person’s estate. At first glance, it may seem silly to squabble over such matters, but many underestimate the emotional value that can be placed on a tangible item. Maybe it is that china set used for family holiday dinners that everyone is fighting over. Or, perhaps it is simply easier to focus on the argument than the grief of losing a loved one.

Unfortunately, asset and estate arguments can also damage family relationships. Feelings get hurt. Words are said that are not truly meant. Resentment can live on long after the assets have found their homes. And, a good share of the estate may have been lost while trying to resolve the matter in probate court. Thankfully, careful planning can prevent family arguments before they start, regardless of any underlying issues.

Wills and Trusts – How They Differ

When people consider creating an estate plan, wills are what typically come to mind. However, there are many other tools that can be used when creating an estate plan—some of which may make all the difference between a family fight and a peaceful division of assets.

A will, which does not go into effect until after you die, is simply a document that directs who receives what. Overseen by probate courts, a will can also appoint a guardian for your children or express any of your final wishes. However, a will can be disputed in court by family members. In addition, they can prevent you from keeping the allocation of assets private since they become a part of the public record.

In contrast, various types of trusts can be set up, and property can even be distributed before your death. Though usually more complex and expensive than a will, a trust cannot typically be disputed in court. Instead, the assets owned by the trust are simply transferred to the management of your chosen trustee to be distributed in accordance with the instructions stated in the trust documents. You can also keep the details of a trust private. However, there are limitations to trusts. For example, you cannot name who will take guardianship of your children in a trust.

A DuPage County Wills and Trusts Lawyer Can Help

As you can see, creating and executing wills and trusts can become quite complex, especially if you have a large estate, specific wishes, or have a high potential for family quarrels. To ensure you have taken all of these matters into account—and that you are following all of the state and federal requirements for wills and trusts—it is highly advised that you seek assistance from an experienced Lombard wills and trusts attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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