Despite all your diligent efforts to make things easier on your family after your death, conflicts and disputes may still arise. In some cases, your loved ones can work out these issues together and avoid a legal battle. Other times, what began as a minor argument over an inheritance or other matter can lead to estate litigation.
Naturally, most people do not want their loved ones fighting over the terms of a will, trust or other estate planning document. Sometimes, it is not possible to prevent estate litigation because of familial conflicts. However, there are several ways Michigan residents can reduce the chances of an estate dispute involving family members.
Express your wishes clearly: Make sure that your children and other family members know how you want your estate handled. You can do this by using clear and concise language in your will and other documents.
Add letters for extra clarity: Personal letters added to an estate plan are not legally binding. However, these letters may help your survivors develop a better understanding of your wishes.
Gift while alive: You may be able to successfully prevent disputes by giving gifts to their loved ones while you’re still around. This step helps surviving family members feel that their inheritances are fair.
Candid discussions: It can also help to speak with your family about your final wishes. In many cases, these discussions can add weight to what you have already outlined in writing.
Estate litigation can ruin all the plans you have made on your family’s behalf. If you want to learn more about how to help your survivors avoid this pitfall, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. By working together, you can find solutions for your loved ones before a problem has a chance to arise.