Whenever an individual passes away, there is the potential that surviving family members will fight over that person’s estate. These days, divorces, new marriages and blended families make the process of dividing up an estate even more complicated. However, by employing various estate planning strategies, Florida families can do their best to limit the chances that their sons, daughters, wives and husbands will get into a dispute over who gets what in the event of a death in the family.
First and foremost, individuals can limit the chance of family disputes by speaking with family members before finalizing an estate plan. Talking with heirs and children regarding their wishes is important. For example, there may be a piece of art or a piece of property that is particularly important to one family member. Some may wish to gift the piece of property to the person now, ahead of time, or to hold a family meeting in order to let heirs know who will be getting what. Many arguments can be avoided if it is clearly spelled out who is going to get what ahead of time.
Another important step for avoiding disputes is to maintain documents that are as up-to-date as possible. For example, one must make sure to update any beneficiaries listed on their pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s and insurance policies. Considering how many divorces and re-marriages occur these days, it is very possible that the name of an ex-spouse could inadvertently be left listed as a beneficiary.
The final piece of advice is to obtain the assistance of a financial planner, estate planning professional and/or attorney. This may seem obvious, but a surprising number of Florida residents do not get professional assistance while completing their estate planning documents. Estate planningprofessionals know what questions they need to ask, and they know what to look out for in order to make sure an individual has wrapped up every loose end to ensure that their family remains a family and does not get involved in ugly disputes following one’s death.
Source: The Fiscal Times, “4 Wise Ways to Avoid a Family Feud Among Heirs” Sheryl Nance Nash, Jun. 16, 2014