When designing a first-time estate plan, many people overlook several common issues. Estate plans consist of a complex collection of important financial documents, prompting people to focus on inheritances, trusts and beneficiaries. Few parents consider that one of their heirs may end up contesting their will.
Should an heir contest the will, this will likely create strife and conflict among an already grieving family. Avoiding this conflict will not only help your loved ones process their grief over losing a parent but help maintain and protect those valuable relationships. Thankfully, parents can get ahead of this potential problem with deliberately transparent estate planning.
3 steps for transparency in the planning process
Drafting an estate plan and will with the heirs involved can help get ahead of any potential contests. The following process can help parents explain themselves, hear questions from their heirs and draft a comprehensive estate plan that works:
- Hire reliable legal counsel: The best place to start with a will is by hiring a local attorney familiar with estate planning that you can trust. Those with large estates can ask for recommendations from a financial advisor or accountant.
- Draft a financial review: This overview contains all information about your owned assets, insurance policies, property, beneficiaries, etc. The overview will help your heirs understand the scope of your estate, provide contact information for all involved legal and financial organizations, account information for online accounts and details on how to distribute family heirlooms and other nonfinancial items.
- Host a meeting with heirs: The final step requires communicating this plan to your family and heirs. A family meeting enables everyone to get together and talk as a family about the plan. Your children can ask questions, voice their concerns and meet the estate executor. The meeting allows any heirs to speak up now instead of saving their objections for the will reading.
Begin your plan today
Estate plans help people protect their life’s work, ensuring it passes to the next generation. Parents can take extra care by planning their estate alongside their family, creating an open and healthy dialogue that puts the family at the forefront. To begin drafting your plan, contact a local attorney familiar with estate planning laws.