Too frequently, disputes arise after the death of a loved one, giving rise to family disagreements and will contests.
The media is fraught with tales of woe about young adults squandering their parents’ amassed wealth within just a few years of their passing. In response to similar concerns, baby boomers – those in the U.S. born between 1946 and 1965 -are thinking twice about leaving everything to their children in their estate plans.
The U.S. Trust found that well more than half of today’s parents do not believe that their grown children are prepared to manage a financial inheritance. In fact, a recent study by the Insured Retirement Institute found that each year more and more baby boomers are leaving their life-long savings to favorite charities or organizations that reflect their values instead of having their children inherit everything. As people in Massachusetts and across the country experience this shift in behavior, some family members may have unrealized expectations after the death of a loved one.
Death affects people differently. When heirs do not receive personal items or financial gifts that they long expected, their emotions may get the better of them. Long buried issues of sibling rivalry, jealously or resentment among various relatives will often come to a head as families gather to mourn a loss. In addition, as the probate and trust administration processes advance, little disagreements can quickly turn into legal battles.
Parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles obviously do not wish for their loved ones to become estranged from each other after they are gone. In order to help avert family disputes and potential will contests, people should do the following to prepare their heirs:
No matter what your concerns are regarding setting up your estate plan or talking with your family about your plan, consult an attorney knowledgeable about issues of estate planning, probate and administration of your estate. An experienced lawyer can help you establish your long-term goals and can walk your family through the entire process after your death.
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We strive to take a proactive approach in anticipating and preventing legal disputes. When possible, we resolve conflicts through strategic mediation and arbitration. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge required to devise successful litigation strategies and imaginative, tax-effective estate plans.