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Open Communication Now Can Prevent Estate Disputes Later

 Posted on November 21, 2019 in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning attorneysIt is hard to believe, but the winter holiday season is just about upon us once again. While Thanksgiving evolved as a celebration of the harvest and is, therefore, a fall holiday, it is also seen by many as the first of the winter holidays that also include Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s. For the next month or so, families throughout the country will be getting together to eat, drink, and honor traditions that stretch back for many generations.

If your family will be getting together during the holidays, you might consider taking advantage of the opportunity to discuss your estate plans. Obviously, talking about what will happen after your death might not be the most comfortable discussion ever, but having the conversation now could go a long way toward preventing disputes and family infighting later.

Things to Talk About

This estate planning discussion does not need to last for many hours, nor does it need to be terribly detailed. The main goal is to let your loved ones know that you have created an estate plan and that the plan includes several important decisions. It is up to you to decide who should be included in the discussion, but most experts agree that your spouse and all of your children should be present, if at all possible.

During the conversation, you should lay out the important basics, such as the people you have selected to serve as your executor, trustees, and any other fiduciary roles. Ideally, you should talk to the chosen individuals ahead of time to be certain that they are up to the task.

It is also a good idea to give a rough outline of how your estate will be allocated. If you plan to divide your estate equally between your children, for example, tell them so. If you plan to skip your children and have everything set aside for your grandchildren, be clear about your intentions. If you would rather give the bulk of your estate to charity, now is the time to talk about it.

Why Communication Matters

Communication is an important part of any healthy family dynamic, but it is especially critical when it comes to your estate plans. A large number of contested wills and other estate disputes arise when an heir or a would-be heir is surprised by his or her inheritance after the death of the person who created the estate plan. The most common grounds for such disputes include alleged undue influence and an alleged lack of testamentary capacity.

By having open and honest conversations about what your intentions are and why, you can make it very clear that you have made your decisions on your own and that you understand their implications. Those affected by your choices might not agree with them, but there will be much less room to challenge your plans down the road.

Additionally, you might also be able to address hurt feelings and jealousy in the weeks and months that follow your conversation. By helping your loved ones come to terms with your decisions, you could be able to prevent the type in-fighting that could tear your family apart after your death.

A Lombard Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help

If you have questions about creating an estate plan or talking to your loved ones about your estate planning choices, contact an experienced DuPage County wills and trusts attorney at A. Traub & Associates to get the answers. Call 630-426-0196 and schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team today.



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