There are many people who take the time to make an estate plan, only to have their children and heirs fight over it after their passing. Unfortunately, even families that were once very close might fight over an estate. This is why it is important that parents make sure that they are taking the necessary steps to protect their estate and prevent their children from fighting over it. Here are a couple things you can do to prevent fighting over your estate.
1. Tell Your Children Before You Pass Away
One of the reasons that children have such a hard time with an estate plan is that they feel like they got blindsided with the terms of the estate. And since mom and dad have passed away they can't get clarification or an explanation. This leaves them to believe that mom and dad might have been under duress when they made the plan or that the plan is not what mom and dad really wanted.
If you sit down your children and tell them what is going to happen in the will and why you did what you did, it will help to defuse the tension after you have passed. This may not solve all problems, but it can help in some cases. You may need to be ready for a fight, but it will be easier to resolve it before you pass away, then to leave your children wondering.
2. Do The Estate Plan Early
In order for an estate plan to be valid, it has to be clear that you and your spouse were of sound mind when you created the plan. The longer you wait the less straightforward it becomes. For instance, if you have health problems that cause you to not think clearly at certain times, then you shouldn't be creating an estate plan when your mind is in question. By creating the plan when you are healthy, no one can question the validity of the plan.
3. Keep It Even
Although you might want to go through and split up things according to how your feel about each child, it is better to just keep everything even and straight across the board. This way every child will just get the same as everyone else. This is much harder to fight in court and will leave the children knowing they were all loved the same. Of course, they may be extenuating circumstances, but if everyone is just a part owner in the trust, it may be easier to execute.
If you do split up things differently, make sure you leave an explanation.
These are just a couple things you can do to protect your estate.