An estate dispute can wreak havoc on your legacy, undermining your plans and diminishing your assets. While you cannot control what happens after your death, you can take steps now to prevent discord later.
Some careful planning on your part may encourage respect between beneficiaries and other plan participants. Proactively putting together the plan provides an opportunity to encourage understanding and unity when you discuss your intentions with the people you care about. Although the exact process will vary with each estate, some of the basic steps that are foundational to every plan include the following.
Choose an executor
An executor has the important task of closing your estate. This includes several critical responsibilities such as obtaining a death certificate, distributing assets, closing debts, selling real estate and satisfying tax obligations. Selecting the right person to fill this role may create a positive and objective third-party dynamic to your estate plan.
An executor can influence family members and might successfully act as a mediator at times. According to CNBC, one study revealed that when estate planning, 75% of advisors blamed family dynamics as the most challenging aspect. You can work with your executor throughout your life to provide information about your family’s dynamic to hopefully make facilitation easier in the future.
Disclose your intentions
You do not have to share all the details of your strategy with the people in your family. Keep sensitive information private for your protection. However, having periodic discussions with your family and your heirs will allow you the chance to disclose your intentions. You can tell them how you feel, as well as your desires for the future. You can talk with them about the legacy you wish to leave behind.
Productive conversations may provide a clearer picture of your intentions to the people you love. This may improve clarity and confidence and reduce the risks of an estate dispute.