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Estate Planning Tips in High-Conflict Family Situations

 Posted on February 24, 2022 in Estate Planning Blog

lombard estate planning lawyerAs much as we would all like to be part of a loving, old-sitcom-style family where everyone gets along and loves each other, this is simply not the reality for many people. Some people who are trying to create an estate plan have adult children who have not spoken to each other in decades. Others have seen their relatives extensively litigate over another family member’s estate. Some have witnessed utter chaos erupt when a now-deceased relative was nearing the end of their life, as no two family members could agree on how their medical care should be handled. 

If this sounds like your family, there are a few steps you and your attorney can take to both protect yourself during your later years and avoid any further conflict over your own estate or end-of-life care

Tips for Testamentary Planning When Your Family Does Not Get Along

Angry, disinherited, or jealous family members have been known to raise challenges simply to spite each other. You probably already know if this is a risk. Some tips for making sure your estate plan goes unchallenged include: 

  • No-contest clause - This clause states that anyone who challenges your will is automatically disinherited. This will not stop legitimate challenges, but will strongly discourage sheerly spiteful litigation.

  • Explain disinheritance - If there is a particular immediate relative you yourself cannot stand and you wish to leave them out of your will, do so explicitly. A mere omission could be mistaken for a mistake. 

  • Lawyer up - Handmade or DIY online estate plans are much more prone to allegations of fraud or coercion. A will or trust made under the careful guidance of an attorney is much more likely to stand up to these challenges. 

Tips for Preventing Conflict Through Incapacity Planning

When you are at a stage in your life where your living will or powers of attorney have taken effect, you will want peace and harmony around you - not fighting. When you make your incapacity plan, consider: 

  • Details - In your living will and medical power of attorney, be as explicit and detailed as you can possibly be regarding what types of medical interventions and care you would or would not. You can be very specific in your instructions. 

  • Limited powers - Limit the powers of your powers of attorney. Clarify what financial decisions they can and cannot make on your behalf. This can help keep the peace when it comes time to settle your estate as well. Similar actions can be taken regarding your medical power of attorney. Carefully describe what they can and cannot consent to on your behalf. 

  • Heads-up - It is a good idea to be clear to your estate planning attorney that your family has a high level of conflict so that they can take measures to ensure that your incapacity plan is as close to ironclad as possible. 

Call an Illinois Estate Planning Attorney

A. Traub & Associates can help you create a very strong comprehensive estate plan. Our Lombard estate planning lawyers have the experience needed to anticipate many sources of potential conflict and take measures to prevent them. Call 630-426-0196 to arrange a confidential consultation - perhaps without informing your relatives. 




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