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Lack of estate planning leads to family feuds

A will or estate plan’s purpose is to avoid disagreements or confusion on how to distribute family assets. Unfortunately, bitter and long-lasting family feuds crop up when an estate is administered that is unclear or unfair.

According to a study released earlier this year by LegalShield, 90% of Americans say that having a will is important but less than 50% actually have one in place. The survey also found that 58% of respondents without a will have had assets fall under court control or have had family disputes as a result of not having the proper estate planning documents.

It is essential to have intent and instructions for your estate made as clearly as possible in writing. Verbal communication is important as well. You should speak frankly with your heirs, and make them aware of your wishes. It is usually helpful for family and loved ones to understand how you made your estate planning decisions. If your family is surprised by your decisions, they may be more likely to take the issue to court.

Below are more suggestions to safeguard your estate after you’re gone:

carefully consider the choice of executor for your estate
provide instructions for how family heirlooms will be distributed
consider a trust if you have heirs at various ages and levels of financial sophistication

The last thing you want is for your estate to lead to divisions within your family. An experienced, local estate planning attorney, can reduce the likelihood of a family dispute when it comes to inheritance. After all, the greatest gift to your loved ones is a smooth transition, free of family drama. Learn more about family dynamics and estates here.