You’ve prepared a Last Will and Testament to make certain your inheritance goes to your heirs in accordance with your wishes. So you think that you’ve done enough to avoid family squabbles over your estate, right? Maybe – but maybe not.
According to estate planning experts, even a simple will that divides a significant estate can frequently result in long, expensive legal battles than can ruin family relationships forever. As one expert put it, “Family fights among children after death occurs in a large percentage of families.” This expert, Kansas attorney Tim O’Sullivan, adds “If the No. 1 goal is to create family harmony, then the estate plan ought to be designed in a way that preserves it. It’s so sad to see what happens in these situations.”
Click on this link to read How to Avoid Fights Over Inheritance, a helpful article from a few years ago, published on the website money.usnews.com. The points in the article are highly relevant even for modest-sized estates.
As the article explains, and as we tell our clients and guests at our frequent Life Planning Seminars, a will is nothing more than a piece of paper that’s given to a probate judge. It’s a set of instructions for the court. However, once your estate goes to probate, you’ve opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box. Probate is a process which varies from state to state, usually requires the expense of an attorney and often takes months, and once it begins the stage is set for legal battles between your heirs that can destroy the harmony you had hoped to leave behind.
The US News article advocates something we talk about frequently in our seminars and on the radio: establishing a trust instead of relying on a will. While we won’t go into the details here, the fact is that a carefully prepared and well-planned trust can avoid conflict entirely and ensure that your wishes for your estate are followed.
One professional quoted in the article, Wichita attorney Dan Peare, says he now recommends trusts for just about every client. “As a younger attorney, I thought a trust was better for an older person with a lot of wealth,” he says. “But over the years, I’ve come to believe that a trust is better than a will in every way for every person.”
Let us help you plan for a seamless, conflict-free transfer of your estate by discussing a trust with you. A good place to begin is by attending one of our frequent Life Planning Seminars. You can find the date, time and location that’s best for you by clicking on the Upcoming Events tab on this website
(Originally reported at www.money.usnews.com)