Here’s the worst-case scenario: You’ve passed away and your family falls, expectedly or unexpectedly, into a tumultuous state. They all have different opinions on how your estate plan should be interpreted, and one or more beneficiaries want to contest the distributions. While everyone knows it’s all about the money, there are easily enough legal “hooks” on which to hang a lawsuit: it can be contested that there has been undue influence, document forgery, breach of fiduciary duty, or that the deceased testator was not of sound mind.
Litigation over an estate plan is terrible for everyone involved. For the sake of your family’s well-being work now to avoid this problem in the future—I really cannot express this enough.
Three Best Ways to Avoid Litigation
- Have a plan. Having an estate plan that is carefully planned and well thought out, created by an experienced estate planner, and completed well in advance of any death or disability is the single best way to avoid litigation.
- Talk about it. It’s critically important to discuss your final wishes with your loved ones and beneficiaries. Clear the air now. Don’t leave it up for future interpretation.
- Include a clause that discourages litigation. An experienced estate planner can include a provision in your estate plan to shut out a beneficiary if s/he brings litigation. (This is also important why you need an actual lawyer to help craft your estate plan.)
I would love to discuss your individual estate planning needs; contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 515-371-6077. Want to get started on your estate plan? My free, no-obligation estate plan questionnaire is a good place to start.