April 03, 2017
How Can I Prevent Probate Fights Upon Death?
If you ask some people, they would not care if their family gets into an all-out war when they die because they won’t be around to care. However, most of us want to prevent family fights over our estate. Unfortunately, some family members may not be happy with the decisions you make for your estate plan. Sadly, not all family fights over estates are over large sums of money. Many family fights are centered around small assets that have little to no monetary value but have a high sentimental value for some family members.
In some cases, the decedent is the one that inadvertently causes the battle. By failing to work with an experienced estate planning attorney, you run the risk of leaving some details out of your estate plan or developing an estate plan that is vague. When this happens, you increase the risk of a family fight over your estate.
If you want to protect your assets and your family, call The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA at 888-390-4360. We can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that covers all eventualities to protect yourself and your family while keeping the peace.
Tips for Keeping the Family Peace
As you are going through the process of designing an estate plan, the following tips can help you avoid family fights.
- Have honest discussions with family members about your property and your wishes. Discussing your death may be difficult and uncomfortable for you and your family. However, having frank discussions now can reduce the risk of fighting after your death.
- Be very specific in your will. If you have many family heirlooms, leave a separate list attached to your will detailing who receives each item. Discuss your wishes with family members, so everyone is on the same page as to who will maintain the family heirlooms when you pass.
- If it is important for you to treat everyone fairly (i.e. leave everyone an equal amount), obtain appraisals of property that is difficult to value. This allows you to divide your estate equally.
- Choose your personal represented carefully. If you have several children who you know will want to be the estate representative, consider using an attorney or trusted friend to avoid arguments.
- Call a family meeting once your estate plan is finalized. Discuss your decisions and make it very clear that the topic is not open to discussion — the decision is made you are simply notifying your family of your wishes, so there will be no surprises upon your death.
If you know your family will fight over the items in your estate, you might consider directing your representative to sell the entire estate and divide the proceeds equally amongst your heirs. You may also want to consider trusts for various family members. Our Michigan estate planning attorney can discuss several options for an estate plan.
Every Family is Different
We recognize that your family and your situation are unique. What works for one family might not work for your family. Our first step is to get to know you, your family, and your assets. We want to know about your concerns and your goals. Learning what you want is crucial if we are to help you plan for your future. Yes, an estate plan is a plan for your future. Most people assume an estate plan is just about what happens to your estate after your death. This is not the case.
A comprehensive estate plan provides for your incapacitation as well as your death. It covers health care decisions, minors, and even pets. By using a variety of estate planning documents, including powers of attorneys, health care directives, wills, trusts, and living wills, we can help you devise a plan that protects everyone, including yourself.
Call The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA For More Information
Are you ready to discuss your estate plan? Have you put off meeting with a Michigan estate planning attorney? Don’t wait any longer to prepare for your future. Our firm has offices in Brighton, Livonia, Novi and Bloomfield Hills to better serve our estate planning and probate clients in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties.
Contact our office by calling 888-390-4360 or use our online contact form to request more information or schedule an appointment with an experienced Michigan estate planning lawyer.