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Estate Conflicts in Close-Knit Families

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that beginning in 2020, the first $11.58 million of a taxable estate is not subject to federal estate taxes. As a result of these changes, a majority of estates will not be subject to federal taxes. Even though estate planning is not as big an issue for many estate planners as it once was, family conflict is becoming more common for families during the estate planning and administration process. 

 

While conflicts tend to occur more often among blended families who often must deal with multiple marriages and children from current or former marriages, conflicts are also a common occurrence among the closet knit of families. As a result, this article reviews some important steps that close-knit traditional families should remember to follow during the estate plan process to avoid conflicts.

 

# 1 – Communicate Your Wishes

 

Many times when disagreements arise about how an estate should be divided, it is because the deceased person was not clear about their wishes for their assets. To avoid this risk, you should make sure to communicate wishes about your estate plan to your loved ones. This way, there are not any surprises.

 

# 2 – Reduce Conduct Whenever Possible

 

Many people decide to place “no contest” clauses into their estate planning documents. These clauses often state that if any beneficiary attempts to argue about the validity of the will and loses, the beneficiary must forfeit their right to an inheritance and be classified as predeceased.

 

# 3 – Consider Utilizing a Revocable Living Trust

 

Many estate planning tools can be used to avoid probate and consequently the risk of conflict among families. One strategy is to create a living trust. Assets that are placed in the trust will be administered following the terms of the trust even after your death. 

 

# 4 – Be Prepared to Change

 

Many times, people discover that over the years, they find a better way to create an estate plan to achieve their wishes. For one reason, things like births and deaths as well as divorce cause people’s financial situation to change. By changing your estate planning and keeping it up to date after major life events, you can make sure that your estate plan stays up to date with your plans.

 

# 5 – Give Extra Thought for Sentimental Items

 

Even the closest knit of families, disagreements can still arise with sentimental items. As a result, when it comes to addressing sentimental objects, it is a wise idea to provide extra details and guidance about how you would like these assets to pass. Some people even decide to name specific items in their will.

 

Contact a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney

 

Unfortunately, no matter what steps a person takes to avoid conflict among family members during estate planning, the risk of arguments about estate plans still exist. In these situations, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. 

Contact Ettinger Estate Planning today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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