Nobody likes to think about what will happen when they pass or become incapacitated, but it is very important to make plans for the future. The benefits of a sound estate plan far outweigh the up-front cost of preparing one. With even a simple estate plan, you can take care of your family, your favorite charities upon your passing, and your own healthcare needs and expenses in the event you become incapacitated.
Unfortunately, disputes over inheritance do occur. In fact, they are quite common. By examining what went wrong in the matters we handle that are in dispute, we see clear patterns and missteps that can be avoided. The following actions can be done today to help you prevent or minimize estate planning disputes in the future.
Be open in your communication
You may not be inclined to talk about estate planning with your family members, and that feeling might be mutual. Nonetheless, this is one of the most important discussions you’ll ever have as a family. Your final wishes are important, and your family should honor them. By letting them know what your final wishes are proactively and when you are around to answer questions and help them understand the goals behind your decisions, you can prevent unnecessary conflicts regarding those decisions further down the line.
Keep your estate planning up to date
It is a common misconception that estate planning is “set it and forget it.” The truth is that your estate plan must reflect your current wishes. If you drafted a will years ago, then it’s probably not going to be in line with your wishes today. A lot of options are discussed in the process of preparing an estate plan – and each of those options should be reevaluated on an annual or semi-annual basis. Family members that are important to you might otherwise be left out of the previous will, having no right to any of your estate. By reviewing your estate plan on a regular basis, you can avoid this type of wrong.
Don’t do it alone
It might be tempting to have a go at estate planning on your own, but your legacy and your family should not be protected in a DIY manner. By having legal guidance and Wool Landon’s experience by your side, you can ensure that your estate planning documents are valid and truly reflect your wishes. We stand by our documents and put a lot of thought and analysis into the best plan for each client. We also build lifelong relationships with our clients to ensure their current relationships, assets, and wises are reflected in their current estate plan.