How can estate planning help reduce familial conflict over inheritance?


If you have been procrastinating about establishing an estate plan, you should consider how creating a will and trust can help you reduce familial conflict over inheritance in the future. Unfortunately, families that come together in grief over the death of a loved one can quickly become divided by disagreements over the distribution of assets from their loved one’s estate. This is because getting all family members on the same page is challenging. However, proper estate planning can help reduce family friction regarding the distribution of inheritances. Please don’t put off creating an estate plan until it’s too late; contact a competent Montgomery County Estate Planning Attorney who can help you protect your future and avoid family conflict. Please continue reading to learn how a properly structured will or trust can help you minimize family disputes over inheritance. 

How can I minimize family conflicts over inheritance when estate planning?

When estate planning, it is critical to consider your family dynamic and take the time to have conversations about your intended wishes. Open discussions with family members to whom you intend to leave an inheritance will ensure that your loved one’s wishes are heard and that you’re treating everyone fairly. Discussing specific pieces of property that hold significant sentimental or monetary value is critical. For example, if you know that one of your granddaughters loves your diamond bracelet, you may leave this item to them. However, you will have to explain to your other children that they will receive a different item of equal value or a share of something else to ensure an equitable distribution of assets among the intended beneficiaries of your estate. Ultimately, it is essential to address your considerations of certain family members’ emotional attachments to your cherished heirlooms.

Additionally, if there are certain family members that you do not intend to include as your heirs, you have two options. Firstly, you can discuss with them and explain why you made this difficult decision. Alternatively, your legal counsel can assist in preparing a separate memorandum that will outline why you have chosen not to include them among your heirs. Providing an explanation for any situations where you deviate from an equitable distribution of your assets to your prospective heirs can help reduce family conflicts.

What alternative options exist?

One alternative way to prevent inheritance disputes and even reduce estate taxes is through lifetime gifting. With lifetime gifting, you can distribute a portion of your estate to your intended heirs before you die. Your attorney can help you stay within the annual limits of how much you can gift to a family member each year. This requires the help of a seasoned attorney who can help you ensure that your gifting is fair to avoid potential family conflict. Furthermore, you may consider adding a no-contest clause to your will. Essentially, a no-contest clause in a will stipulates that any beneficiary that challenges the terms of the choice relinquishes their rights to receive any gifts that the will grant them.

Several estate planning approaches can help you avoid family conflict over inheritances. If you are thinking about estate planning, contact a skilled attorney from JD Katz, who can help you minimize family disputes over the inheritance of property and other assets.