Estate planning is a complex process that can involve many difficult decisions about both finances and future medical care. At the time you are drafting your plans, it is impossible to see into the future, but you would be wise to take care to consider how your choices will affect your loved ones down the road. Some estate planning choices may cause more harm than good.
After you pass, the choices you made in your will and other estate planning documents will come to light. Your children and other beneficiaries will have the responsibility of settling your estate, and some of your decisions could cause discord and complications with this process. It may be smart to consider the long-term effects of your choices.
What will your family think?
The purpose of having a thoughtful, up-to-date estate plan is to make it easier for your loved ones after you pass and to ensure you have a say in what happens to your hard-earned assets and wealth. While you cannot necessarily make everyone happy with the decisions you outline in your plan, there are ways you can decrease the chance for conflict. Some considerations that may benefit you and your family include:
- When dividing sentimental family heirlooms, such as jewelry, ask your kids their preferences – even if you do not think they like it or would want it.
- Consider which of your children would be the best executor of your estate, a decision that should not always depend on the ages or gender of your kids.
- Talk to your kids about specific assets you think they may want or could cause conflict in the future.
- If you want to leave your child inequitable portions of your estate, talk to them about why you want to do this. Honesty now can help avoid disputes later.
Conflicts between beneficiaries and heirs can often arise out of situations that involve misunderstanding, confusion or unrealistic expectations. It may be best for everyone to go ahead and talk through some of these potentially volatile issues now, even if it may seem uncomfortable to bring up the subject of your estate.
When you make the effort to reduce conflict among your children or other beneficiaries, it can actually protect your assets and estate. Instead of spending time and money resolving disputes, your loved ones will be more likely to settle the estate quickly and according to your wishes. It may be helpful to discuss your concerns with a Colorado attorney about your estate before you make any important decisions.