When you’re gone, the last thing you want is for your family members to fight over your estate and create additional grief within the family. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you may think. Some family members, for example, might get upset if they’re not getting as much as others and get into disputes. The good news is that you can take steps right now to minimize arguments over your estate.
Select the Right Executor
Minimizing fights over your estate starts with choosing the appropriate executor. The person you select should be trustworthy, responsible, organized, and have good communication skills. He or she should take the job seriously and keep beneficiaries up-to-date with what’s happening with the estate. If your beneficiaries know what’s going on, they will be less likely to get nervous and start arguments.
Make Necessary Changes to Your Estate Plan
It’s important to update your estate plan whenever you have a big life change such as a divorce, marriage, birth of a child, or the death of a beneficiary. If you don’t make the necessary changes, your will might not reflect your current wishes and upset your beneficiaries. For example, if you get divorced, you probably don’t want your ex-spouse inheriting major property. If you don’t make the necessary updates to your will, however, he or she may receive some of your assets.
Explain Your Decisions Beforehand
It’s a good idea to inform your beneficiaries about your wishes while you’re alive. This way, you can avoid surprises and hurt feelings later on. For instance, you may plan on giving your oldest child a smaller inheritance than his or her siblings because he or she is more financially stable. If you explain your decision, you can prevent feeling of suspicion and anger when you’re gone.
Avoid Making Someone a Co-Owner of Your Checking Account
It’s not uncommon for people to add a son or daughter to their checking account when they get older. That way, the son or daughter can easily assist with managing money. However, this can end up backfiring on the owner. If you name someone as co-owner of your checking account, he or she will legally inherit all the money after your death. As you can probably imagine, this will lead to fights among the other children. To avoid these issues, name someone you trust as a power of attorney. This will allow him or her to write checks for you should you become incapacitated.
If you follow these tips, you can help your family members avoid heated arguments after your passing. If you have additional questions, contact a reputable estate planning lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer.