Planning for the future can help to avoid conflict

| Jan 13, 2020 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Many people in Michigan want to make sure their children and other loved ones are cared for after they pass away. When people remarry later in life, both spouses may be more interested in providing for their adult children as part of their estate plan while others may want to develop systems that help them support each other as well as their kids. However, experience may point to the importance of open family communication about estate planning. Many of these incidents involve families with adult children who have lived outside the home for many years, but closer communication could prevent potential theft as well as rifts in the family.

Many types of property are designed to pass on without relying on a will. For many people, these non-probate transfers ease the process, making it simpler for their loved ones to inherit their possessions without going through probate court and the associated fees and delays. For example, jointly owned homes with a right of survivorship transfer to become either party’s sole property on the other’s death as do most joint bank accounts. Life insurance policies, retirement funds and other accounts pass directly to the named beneficiary on the accounts.

When blended families have multiple grown children from each side, however, they may need to take special care to ensure their children are included in the estate plan. They may want to name a trust that benefits the children as the beneficiary of their life insurance or retirement accounts. Otherwise, stepchildren and stepparents may find themselves locked in a painful battle over the estate.

When people think about how to protect their loved ones in the future, open communication and a clear plan may ease the path. An estate planning attorney may help people develop key estate documents that reflect their goals.