Sadly, family disputes over inheritance are a common occurrence. As a probate liquidator, I’ve watched countless feuds erupt in courtrooms over personal belongings and valuable assets. One thing is certain. Death can unite or separate families and separation often takes place when decedents usually do not take part in estate planning.
While estate planning cannot prevent family disputes over inheritance it can minimize the risk of heirs contesting the Will and ensure heirs receive intended inheritance gifts. The level of estate planning strategies required is dependent upon several factors including type and value of owned assets, the number of heirs, and state probate laws.
Every estate is necessary to undergo the probate process unless assets are protected by the trust. Trusts tend to be used when estate value exceeds $100,000. Some states exempt small estates from undergoing probate so long as a legitimate Will has become executed.
Executing a testament is important since it provides estate settlement directives, including how property must be distributed. Wills can also be crucial when you have minor children since they appoint legal guardianship. Other important directives range from burial preferences, charitable gifts and donations, and disinheritance of heirs.
While a lot of people don’t need to disinherit loved ones, if there is a desire for this the sole legal strategy is to feature a disinheritance clause. It is strongly recommended to consult using a lawyer to determine the appropriate manner for disinheriting heirs. Some states allow decedents to entirely write somebody out of your Will, while some require a minimal gift of one dollar.
Individuals who will be concerned that heirs might contest the Will can insert a no-contest clause. This action declares that heirs who contest the Will relinquish rights to the estate assets. No-contest clauses could be a good preventative measure to cut back the likelihood of family inheritance wars from erupting.
If substantial family strife exists it is smart to work with a probate attorney. Lawyers may help individuals decide which choices most suitable for protecting inheritance property. When estates are required to undergo probate your representative is appointed to stay the estate.
Oftentimes, personal representatives are family, but this will cause additional problems when family dysfunction exists. It may be best to appoint a neutral party, for instance, a probate litigator or lawyer, to stay the estate. Although it is more expensive to hire professionals, this could save the estate money if family disputes arise.
If heirs contest a Will the legal defense fees can easily bankrupt estates and force personal representatives to trade inheritance property. Most states require court authorization with the sale of probated assets.
Establishing trusts offers additional protective measures which are a simpler process than probate. However, it is usually more expensive. It’s best to consult with an estate planner to decide which sort of trust is ideal.
The benefits of trusts are property is often exempt from inheritance taxation; gifts could be distributed quickly, and the testament remains private which is not available through public records. With probated estates, the Will is a matter of public record and offered to anyone who wishes to visualize it.
Estate planning is important for anyone, but particularly when the potential for family fighting over inheritance exists. Grief may cause irrational behavior and possesses a tendency to magnify existing dysfunction.
If possible, hold a household meeting and openly discuss inheritance gifting. Relatives can place claims on items they desire and negotiate when multiple people want the identical item. If meetings aren’t possible, speak to heirs privately. Once the Will is drafted, provide heirs having a copy so that they determine what they’re going to receive beforehand.
While there is no ironclad protection method that could stop family disputes over the inheritance from occurring, you’ll find strategies that may diminish problems for relationships. Estate planning can lessen the potential for arguments and supply peace of mind knowing final affairs are in order.