Making an estate plan can give individuals peace of mind about their family’s future when they are no longer around. It allows individuals to plan for the future, but not predict it.
And unfortunately, not many Kentucky individuals predict—or even imagine—their family arguing about their estate after their death. That is often the last thing they want to happen. And there are a few things that individuals can do today that can help their family avoid disputes in the future.
1. Include family in the estate planning process
Ultimately, an individual’s estate plan is theirs to create. That means that they have the final say in how they wish to elaborate on their wishes for the future.
However, one helpful way to avoid future disputes during probate or estate administration is for individuals to discuss their estate plan with their children, or any other beneficiaries, beforehand. This can help individuals:
- Determine what their children want and do not want
- Evaluate what to do with sentimental assets or real property
- Explain their reasoning in person, which might be easier
- Discuss their specific wishes included in the will
Involving family in the estate planning process can help eliminate surprises during the probate process, and reduce the chances of a dispute between family members.
2. Try to treat children as fairly as possible
Establishing an equal inheritance is not always possible. For example, one adult child might have special needs. In that case, it makes sense to provide children with different assets to accommodate their different needs.
Forbes published an article discussing situations when individuals might want to divide their assets fairly—and not equally—among their children. But even then, there is no easy answer to how individuals should divide their assets between many beneficiaries. Equal division is usually the option that most people choose, as it is the fairest. However, it usually depends on the situation. Every family is different, after all.
Regardless of how someone chooses to split up their assets, it is always helpful to refer to tip number one and discuss complicated decisions openly with children.
3. Regularly update the estate plan
Families change often. Whether a family welcomes a new baby or a new spouse, it is beneficial for individuals to adjust their estate plan to include these new additions. This is another way to prevent future disputes before they start.
It bears repeating: the estate plan should include whatever the creator wants. However, most people do not want their family to argue after they are gone. And following these tips can help them avoid future conflicts.