Creating an Estate Plan to Avoid Family Feuds From Austin Estate Planning Lawyer Liz Nielsen

Creating an Estate Plan to Avoid Family Feuds

Family Feuds may be fun to watch when Steve Harvey is reading the questions and telling the jokes. It is, however, not fun to watch a feud play out among your own family. Thankfully there are a few steps you can take with your estate plan to ensure your wishes are met and any family feuds are avoided.

Appoint the Proper Executor

Choosing the right person to administer and distribute your estate is very important. Often times individuals choose their eldest child because ages equals maturity, right? This may be a mistake. Below are some traits you will want your Executor to have:

  1. Great Communication Skills: The Executor will need to be able to effectively communicate with all your beneficiaries on the status of your estate. Oftentimes the estate administration process does not always go as planned. There may be a house that can’t seem to sell, unknown assets, or previously unknown heirs. These things can slow down the administration process and delay the distribution of funds. When beneficiaries are relying on their inheritance to pay debts or bills, the delays tend to cause frustrations. If the Executor is able to communicate each step of the process, it can avoid feuds over suspicions of stealing, laziness of the Executor, or incompetency of the Executor.
  2. Organization Skills: The Executor will need to be very organized. They will be dealing with the court, an attorney, banks, insurance providers, realtors, and more. It is important that they are able to keep all the information and paperwork in order. It is also important for them to be able to remember what stage of the process they are in and the next steps.

Don’t Forget to Mention Your Personal Property

It is easy to look at your estate planning and see the big picture. Your Will may mention your Personal Property as a whole, but not in detail. As humans we have an inclination to equate memories and affections to material objects in memory of a loved one. You may not remember, but your child may look at your tea set and remember the times you used to play tea party. Parting with these items of sentimental value can cause anger and sadness. To avoid feuds about sentimental items between siblings, talk to them about which items they may want, and create a list. If any arguments arise in this discussion, you can help resolve it then and there.

Explain Any Unequal Distributions

If you decide to give one individual a larger sum of inheritance than another, it is imperative that you mention and explain this information to your loved ones. Maybe one of your children has disabilities that limit them; or a child has five children to care for and another has none. There are many reasons that may cause an individual to divide their estate unequally. If you sit down with each beneficiary, or even have a family meeting, they can understand your reasoning and come to terms with the distribution before your death. If you do not explain why you decided on such distribution it may cause them to have a lifelong resentment of their siblings.

Nielsen Law PLLC provides family focused estate planning to individuals and families in Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and the Central Texas area.  For more information and to learn about our firm, please contact us.