When developing and signing estate documents, it is imperative that you are clear in your wishes. Otherwise, after you have passed, your heirs may dispute your decisions. Going to court to settle an estate is time-consuming, stressful and emotionally draining. You don’t want your family torn apart from fighting over your assets after you have passed.
One important factor in avoiding trust and estate disputes is communication. Choose the trustee or executor that you think is best suited to handle your affairs. If there family disharmony exists, you may wish to appoint an independent professional as your trustee or executor to manage your affairs. Then explain to the trustee or executor that you select them and your other loved ones why you chose that person.
Every circumstance is different. If appropriate, you can explain your decisions to your heirs when you draft your estate planning documents. Let them know what each of them will be inheriting. That will give them time to absorb your decision and express any concerns they might have while there is still an opportunity for you to make any changes. This may minimize the ill will between your heirs and they will be less likely to dispute your decisions.
As time goes on, you may change your mind about who you want as your beneficiaries. There may be a new child born, a divorce in the family, a death of a loved one, or another circumstance that leads you to change your decisions about what will happen to your assets after your death. It is essential that you have an up-to-date estate plan to reflect the change in circumstances. When you revise your documents, you may wish to inform your beneficiaries of the changes so they are not taken by surprise later.
Creating a solid estate plan is critical to ensure the smooth and easy transition of your assets and help avoid costly trust and estate disputes. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you navigate through the myriad of trust and estate issues and avoid inheritance disputes. And, if litigation becomes necessary, a Florida trust and estate litigation attorney serving Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice and Lakewood Ranch, can guide your trustee or executor through the process.