Law Offices of James C. Shields

How to Avoid Estate Planning Drama

Nothing causes more bitterness and even family splits more than estate planning issues when a loved one passes away. If you have tremendous assets, you'll want to reduce this drama by planning your financial future effectively and communicate your wishes to your family before you pass away. Write out a detailed will and give copies to your children after it has been notarized. This lets your children know how you want your assets to be handled. If you didn't have the best relationship with certain family members, don't seek revenge by cutting their inheritance out of spite. Instead, seek reconciliation and build a stronger relationship with them. On the other hand, if you believe that your oldest son will manage the family business better than your youngest daughter, sit with the two of them to discuss why you're making this decision. Here are other ways to reduce estate planning stress.

Consider Unique Family Situations

Not all families consist of the traditional husband and wife with kids model. These days, family dynamics are more diverse than they were 30 years ago. If you have a unique family situation, keep this mind when planning your estate. Maybe you are married but you have children from previous relationships. It is important that you update your will to include the children from your previous relationships as beneficiaries. The will should also state whether your adult children or your current spouse will make medical decisions on your behalf. You can also create a separate living trust just for the adult children to access upon your death.

Choose a Reliable and Trustworthy Executor

Some family members are more reliable and trustworthy than others, and you need to keep this in mind when choosing an executor of your estate. There have been cases of executors who mishandled assets or who would not distribute them as the deceased person wished. You know the personalities of certain relatives, and sometimes you can't choose the person who you are the closest to. In some cases, you might need to appoint an independent trustee over your estate.

Be Prepared for Hurt Feelings

Even if you've done everything you could to divide all assets equally to your family, remember that some relatives will not be satisfied and they'll have hurt feelings. You can't please everyone and your relatives will just have to accept the situation.

In conclusion, with these practical steps, you can reduce estate planning stress and maintain family harmony.

If you need assistance with estate planning, contact us. We're here to answer all estate planning questions you may have so that the process will go smooth for you and your family.

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