Many California residents understand the importance and value of executing a solid estate plan while they are still of sound mind. It is not uncommon, however, for certain issues to spark problems, particularly among family members who may not get along so well on a daily basis. Estate owners can help their beneficiaries avoid estate administration problems by keeping several things in mind when they devise their plans.
In many families, there are one or more members who act with a sense of entitlement. To help loved ones, especially adult children between whom there may be sibling rivalry, avoid legal disputes during the probate process, estate owners will want to be clear regarding inheritance issues, as well as in choosing people to make decisions on their behalf if they are no longer able to do so. It is critical to make sure that no individual assumes that he or she is entitled to a portion or all of an estate — putting everything in writing in a concise, clear manner, is helpful.
Discuss sibling conflicts ahead of time
In most families, there are personality conflicts between certain members. Regarding estate administration, this can spark a full-blown legal war, as it did in one family where a sister tried to keep her brother from an inheritance his father had intended to give him. While it may be an awkward or uncomfortable discussion, it is best if an estate owner shares his or her wishes, in person, with the whole family gathered together, to leave no stone unturned and less room for one adult child to try to use coercion or duress to keep a sibling from receiving an inheritance.
Always make sure designees are trustworthy
California estate owners will want to make sure that the people they are choosing are trustworthy and will carry out their estate administration duties with integrity. In the case mentioned earlier, the woman’s father, who was the estate owner, did not realize that his daughter was working behind the scenes to try to gain control of his assets before he died as a means of shutting her brother out of the will. An experienced estate law attorney can help an estate owner protect assets and execute a solid plan.