You may want the property that you leave behind when you die to be a gift and a blessing to the people you love, but the impact may actually be more negative than positive. There have been innumerable families torn apart or permanently damaged by estate disputes when someone dies. Your children might become angry with a stepparent or turn against each other in their efforts to get as much from your estate as possible.
There are numerous ways that you can prevent massive estate disputes from leading to probate litigation that damages your family. What are some of the more common ways people try to avoid arguments over their last wishes?
They create trusts
Although people can challenge trust in probate court, it is more complex to challenge a trust than to challenge a will. A trust also gives you more control over what happens with the property that you leave behind as opposed to simply granting it to others and giving them full control over those assets.
They select the right executor
Choosing the wrong person to manage your estate could be a huge mistake.
If they have the possibility of personally benefiting from the estate, they may fail in their duty to the other beneficiaries. If they have unbalanced relationships with the different beneficiaries, they might let their personal feelings rather than your last wishes govern what they do with your property.
Choosing someone who is competent, fair and trustworthy is crucial to minimizing disputes about your legacy.
They add a no-contest clause
You can potentially add a clause to your will or your trust that imposes a penalty if family members tries to challenge your last wishes in probate court. If someone knows they could lose their inheritance entirely, dragging the estate through probate court may no longer seem like a good option.
They talk openly with their family about their wishes
If everyone in your family understands what you want to do with your property and why you made those choices, they will feel less shocked when they read your will and will be less likely to go to court to fight for more than you wanted to leave them.
By taking the right steps now when you create your estate plan or update it, you can reduce the chances of what you leave for your loved one harming the relationships that they have with each other.