When you ask many people why they want to do estate planning, eliminating the potential for disputes is at the top of the list. They simply say that they want to make sure they know what’s going to happen to their assets so that their children don’t fight over them.
Some of this has to do with the assets themselves, but it’s more about the family dynamics. They don’t want to create a dispute that is going to cause resentment for the rest of the children’s lives. They want everything to go smoothly and they would like the bonds between their children to stay strong.
It is certainly possible to do this with estate planning, and it can be helpful to understand why these disputes happen so that you know how you can plan to avoid them.
There is no plan at all
First and foremost, remember that not making an estate plan increases the odds of a dispute between your heirs. They have to try to figure out what you would have wanted, and they may not agree on the specifics. The best thing you can do is to have a plan in place.
You left unequal bequests
You don’t have to leave the exact same amount of assets to each child that you have, but bear in mind that unequal bequests are one of the main reasons for estate disputes. Generally speaking, a child who got less than his or her siblings is going to feel that that is unfair and they may start a dispute on those grounds.
Sentimental items cause a rift
One of the problems that you may have is that sentimental items can only be left to one individual. You can’t sell them and divide the money, the way you could with other assets, because your heirs want those specific items. When two people want the same item that has a lot of sentimental value, it massively increases the odds of a dispute, even if that item itself does not have very much financial value.
Preventing these disputes
There are always ways to prevent these estate disputes from happening, and that’s why it’s so important to understand the legal options at your disposal.