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How you can use estate planning to ease family disputes

As you are amid the important work of your estate planning, you may be focusing on areas such as taxes or funeral arrangements. One of the most important aspects of estate planning is preparing your family for a future without you. Estate planning makes the transition of you not being around easier for your family and can leave out speculation about your wishes. Unfortunately, many people neglect estate planning which leads to assets left behind causing arguments and conflicts. If keeping the family from fighting after your death is important to you, there are ways to try to ease tensions among the family once you are gone.

Watch out for inadequate or sloppy planning

Many people put estate planning documents together and think that they are done. Sometimes many years go by and personal and professional situations change. If you pass away with an estate plan that was structured in the distant past, there will likely be many parts of your life not addressed that can cause confusion among the family. By keeping your estate plan current, you can account for grandchildren, new real estate or additional business ventures.

It is not a surprise party

A family member surprised by how they are treated with your estate planning decisions is a recipe for major conflict. This does not mean you should always keep things equal in your distribution. If you plan on treating some family members different than others, you should be open with them and honestly explain how you came to your decision. If your goal is to keep the family from fighting, staying silent on these matters may not be the best course of action.

Choose representatives wisely

Choosing the executor of your will and someone to assume power of attorney responsibilities will be extremely important since family members are aware this person is handling your affairs. You will want to choose someone you can trust and understands your wishes. You do not have to necessarily choose an oldest child or spouse. You may want to choose someone who has shown responsibility and fairness to you and the family in the past.

Let the family know your wishes

You may have thought long and hard about how you want your legacy to continue as you contemplate passing your property to family and friends. You may want to consider sharing this thought process with the family. Arguments over who gets what can be diminished when there is an explanation as to why the inheritance is being distributed in a particular way.

Family squabbles or all out arguments may be a sore spot in your life. Maybe your family lives in harmony and you don’t want to disrupt it. Either way, if you are concerned about how your family might deal with your inheritance wishes, take steps in your estate planning to find ways that will minimize family frustrations.

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