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How Do You Avoid Family Conflicts and Leave a Good Legacy?

 Posted on November 11, 2022 in Estate Planning

yorkville estate planning lawyerIt is a certain wish to you that you'll love to leave a peaceful family behind when you're deceased. You'll love to lay down a good legacy for your family and kids to follow. You will also want to prevent any future family conflicts in the future when you're gone into the great beyond. 

These thoughts of yours can be possible if you'll take out the time to do proper and thorough estate planning. 

With an estate plan thoughtfully and thoroughly drafted out while you're alive, healthy, and capable, you'll have fewer worries when you become unable and no worries at all by the time the inevitable (death) happens to you.

In this article, we'll look at how you can avoid family conflicts and leave a good legacy with estate planning while you're gone. Read on.

What is Estate Planning?

Though, a seemingly daunting task, estate planning is truly worth it. You get to decide, even in death or incapacitation, how your assets are to be managed and evenly distributed among your heirs and beneficiaries. 

Also, you get to choose an ideal guardian for your children (that is if they are minors). You also protect your asset from going into probate and protect your heirs and beneficiaries from burdensome estate taxes. 

Now, what is estate planning?

Estate planning is simply the legal process of preparing how you wish your estate to be managed, preserved, and evenly distributed among beneficiaries or heirs when you're deceased or incapacitated. 

Usually, it involves making a will, trusts, limiting estate taxes, protecting, and choosing a guardian for your minors, setting up your funeral arrangements, and other important activities that make up a proper estate plan.

One of the most common misconceptions about estate planning is that it only concerns high-net-worth individuals. That's not true. Even the middle class needs an estate plan to prepare themselves and the future of their wards for the unexpected.

Why is Estate Planning Important in Avoiding Family Conflicts?

One of the most common reasons why you probably need an estate plan is to avoid possible family conflicts in the future when you're gone into the great beyond. 

Your immediate family, which consists of your spouse, kids, step kids, adopted kids and even foster kids may have nurtured good relationships when you were still around. This is because you've served as a mediator between them while you were alive and well. 

Surprising to you, the family battle that will rip them apart over your estate might ensue when you're gone. 

Truthfully, it is common and expected for family conflicts to occur over your estate, but proper planning of how your estate is to be distributed and managed can prevent future conflicts and establish long-term serenity within your family. 

Proper estate planning is one of the basic investments into the positivity and tranquility of your family's future.

Also, an estate plan will help you establish a peaceful legacy for your family to follow. This will be discussed later in this article.

Common Causes of Family Conflicts. 

Undoubtedly, the main reason why your family and kids would be at loggerheads is your estate. Other reasons would be the cause of family conflicts. 

  • Inheriting Real Estate, especially the “Family” House.

One common cause of family conflicts is when they fight over who becomes the new owner of the family house. These conflicts usually occur among elder members of the family. 

For example, your eldest children might be twins; a boy and a girl, then an argument might ensue between them when they begin to decide who becomes the new landlord of the family house. One of them (the male child) would insist it's his right, while the female child would argue that they both have equal rights.

A well-thought-out estate plan would prevent this.

  • Pitting siblings such as underperforming children unwittingly against their other siblings.

Bad feelings can grow among your kids when they think they are better than their siblings in handling certain situations. It's best to discuss your estate plan with an expert real estate attorney and analyze each of your children's unique abilities in handling situations.

  • Fighting over caretaker issues and personal belongings.

An estate conflict could break out in your family when you've overlooked who takes care of your personal belongings. 

Personal belongings include properties of high sentimental value. Your personal belongings like your clothes, mobile device, a painting or photograph, furniture, jewelry, etc will often orchestrate family conflicts among your children and other immediate family members than money.

For example, four siblings might quarrel over who would inherit their father's wallet. 

  • Blended families and Stepchildren disputes.

Fights may occur among your children and stepchildren over your estate. Usually, your first set of children would think that they, only have inheritance rights. 

  • Burial and Funeral Arrangements including the payment of such services including Cremation.

The responsibility of how you want your funeral to go can also cause arguments.  

  • Allocation of assets such as real estate, business interests, financial accounts, and other assets.

Allocation of your assets, businesses, bank accounts, etc can make arguments and quarrels happen and eventually rip your children apart when you're gone. 

Effective Ways You Can Avoid Family Conflicts With Your Estate Plan?

We've looked at possible causes of family conflicts. Now, how do you avoid them?  Below are some ways to give you and your family peace of mind when you're gone.

  1. Use a Revocable Living Trust.

Family disputes, stressful probate process, and burdensome estate taxes over the assets of your estate can be prevented when you use a revocable living trust. 

A revocable living trust, otherwise called a "Family Trust" is a vital document in your estate plan. You as the grantor or trustor appoint a trustee who is responsible for the administration of your assets when you're not able to. 

A revocable living trust is created in your estate plan while you're alive and healthy and you can choose to terminate or change the trust anytime.  In other words, you're still in control. 

The trustee you appointed doesn't transfer assets from the trust until after your death when the revocable living trust becomes irrevocable.

  1. Include a Last Will and Testament in Your Estate Plan.

Although, one major drawback of a last will is the probate process. A heavy and expensive court contest would follow over your will. This could be avoided if the will specifies what property each sibling or family member would inherit.

Also, your will can include a person you recommend as an ideal guardian for your minor children until they come of age. 

A reliable and competent estate planning attorney can take care of your minor children's inheritances and transfer them to them at the right time. This way, family members don't fight over who takes care of their inherited properties. This can also be included in your last will.

  1. Be Open-minded With Your Family About Your Estate Plan.

You wouldn't want to talk about what plans you have for your beneficiaries that will happen after your death. But just to avoid them assuming your wishes and orchestrating fierce arguments, you can schedule a family meeting and be open-minded about your estate plan. 

For example, in the meeting, you can discuss what you want your funeral to be like. You can also discuss new roles to be filled in your business empire, and other vital matters that would ignite conflict. 

Furthermore, if you do not want a person; maybe any of your stepchildren to be a beneficiary of your estate plan, there's no offense to that. However, to avoid legal conflict, you can discuss the matter explaining the reason for his/her disinheritance. 

During the discussion, an audio recorder may be used as an electronic reference device to kill any arising arguments after your demise.

  1. Use Advanced Healthcare Directive.

An Advanced Healthcare Directive or Power Of Attorney for Healthcare is a document in your estate plan that states a trusted appointee who can make healthcare decisions for you when you become incapacitated. 

A power of attorney agent is responsible for following a person’s wishes and concerns when it comes to end-of-life issues including blood transfusions, life support issues, and other medical issues.

  1. Use a Financial Power Of Attorney (POA).

A financial power of attorney is a document in your estate plan that appoints a trusted agent to carry out financial activities and make financial decisions when you're unable to do so. The trusted agent who has the ability on your POA can only make financial and property decisions while you're incapacitated. When you're dead, an executor, a trusted estate planning attorney will have to be named to carry out specific financial wishes of you the deceased.

  1. Liquidate Assets.

When you predict that conflict will arise over certain assets, you can inform your attorney ahead to liquidate such assets and split the proceeds. 

  1. Edit and Update Your Estate Plan Regularly.

You must update and edit your estate plan as soon as you gather more assets and real estate. This will reduce the chances of fights over your estate and unknown properties. 

Leaving A good Legacy With Your Estate Plan.

Your heirs and beneficiaries are commonly your children. You wish your children a smooth and easy life after your death. You also want your legacy to be followed and kept lit up for a long time. You can include, in your estate plan, how you want your business and home to be managed, for example. 

You can also tell your children how you want them to be on their best behavior after your demise. That's an invaluable legacy to follow. Contact us today at 630-780-1034 or contact us via email.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Estate Planning Attorney.

Yorkville Will and Trust Attorneys in Kendall County

Hiring an estate planning attorney is an important process. At Gateville Law Firm, we are the top estate planning law firm in Yorkville and Kendall County. Unlike most lawyers and law firms, we possess the ability to write and draft simple to complex estate plans involving sophisticated estate tax and business planning. Contact us today at 630-780-1034 or contact us via email.

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