You cannot assume everyone will be happy.
You are writing your will, after all.
But, on the other hand, you do not want anyone to be angry.
Is that possible?
According to the Forbes article titled “How to Keep Your Heirs from Fighting Over Your Estate,” you can take steps to appease your family without compromising your own wishes.
Discuss your wishes with your loves ones.
Communication is key.
Most people do not do this.
In fact, reportedly only 33 percent do.
More than 20 percent of beneficiaries will argue over the bequests.
Some 63 percent of families who had peaceful estate settlements were told what to expect in the will.
Further, 80 percent called the estate plan fair.
If your will or trust varies significantly from the default intestate rules or you decide to divide your remaining assets unequally, you should explain your reasoning in advance.
By knowing the why, your heirs are less likely to balk at the what.
If you really want to ensure the execution of your state goes down without a hitch, you can include a “no-contest” clause.
What would this do?
It would penalize anyone who contested your estate plan by forfeiting his or her inheritance.
Do not assume your family will accept your final wishes with a smile.
By talking with them openly now, you can proactively address any points of contention.
An experienced estate planning attorney can do more than just prepare a will or a trust, he or she can facilitate these family discussions.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Forbes (October 31, 2016) “How to Keep Your Heirs from Fighting Over Your Estate”