FAMILY FEUDS CAN BE AVOIDED WITH ESTATE DOCUMENTS SUCH AS A WILL

It turns out that “Family Feud” is not just a popular game show — it also describes the aftermath of many poorly drafted estate plans. With the recent economic turmoil of the Great Recession still fresh in many Floridians’ minds, a growing number of legal estate challenges are cropping up in the state’s courts. How can you protect your estate plan andwill from being subject to litigation after your death? Today, we discuss a few simple tips to prevent your inheritance plans from causing a potential family feud.

Experts say that many estate planning problems arise when benefactors fail to communicate about their wishes and intent. If you know that a certain family member wants a specific possession, you need to make sure that the information is included in your will. You can either give the item to the beneficiary before your death or include a specific memorandum that describes your wishes. Talk about these issues as you go about drafting your estate plan. That way, your family members will be less likely to argue over that favorite piece of jewelry or collection of art pieces.

Your estate planning process should also be completed early, while you are still healthy and in possession of your mental faculties. Illnesses can easily cause cognitive difficulties that make it more challenging to draft a legally binding will. Seeking the help of a qualified legal team can help by allowing benefactors to avoid unintended consequences. Although you might think that something like joint ownership is a convenient and useful tool, such estate planning strategies can have their drawbacks.

Ultimately, it is most important for benefactors to make sure that their documentation reflects their true wishes. That means that beneficiary forms need to be updated, and an iron clad set of estate planning documents should be drafted. You can help avoid family feuds by taking the time and effort to critically evaluate your estate plan.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.