Avoiding family feuds is often an underlying motivation in developing a fair estate plan. Some items to consider that may help prevent costly and emotionally draining litigation later:
- It’s a Family Affair. Consider involving your family members in the estate planning process. You do not need to keep estate planning a secret. If your family learns of your intentions after you die, there could be conflicts that are more difficult to resolve. Some families include a mediator in the process to ensure all sides clearly communicate their issues while preventing any type of conflict of interest on the part of the estate planning attorney.
- Confirm Capacity. A common issue that arises and becomes a basis for litigation is whether the person signing the documents had the mental capacity to understand those documents. Getting an examination by a physician immediately prior to executing an estate plan helps to confirm capacity.
- Professional Executor or Corporate Trustee. While these roles cost additional fees, they may be worth the cost. For a professional to handle the estate administration and/or serve as trustee of a trust rather than a family member often gives family members the peace of mind of knowing that a neutral party is handling matters properly. This helps to avoid costly litigation and makes the professional fees worth it.
At Stouffer Legal, we provide comprehensive estate planning services designed to prevent litigation later. Contact us at 443-470-3599 to discuss your family situation.