Families can struggle during times of crisis, and Massachusetts residents may want to think about common issues to avoid in order to simplify the handling of estate-related affairs after their death. Without effective estate planning, there could be serious conflicts later.
Studies indicate that aging parents and their children disagree over the best timing for discussions about final plans for managing an estate. Those who do approach these concerns in a timely way may not thoroughly address the issues of importance. At least 10 percent of aging parents don’t discuss their estate plans and final wishes at all with their children. Unfortunately, a lack of discussion could lead to hurt feelings or challenges later on.
Failure to plan could leave an important family member lacking any inheritance in spite of their strong relationship with an aging individual. Planning is a priority to clearly communicate one’s wishes. Administrative issues such as changes of beneficiary designations are important for avoiding unintended assignment of benefits to the wrong party. A professional review may help in identifying such discrepancies. A specific designation of the recipients of certain objects of value may prevent battles among relatives. Blended family issues can also complicate estate planning, making it worthwhile to discuss one’s wishes, following this up with the establishment of a specific written plan so that later legal battles over goods can be avoided.
Careful attention to detail during the estate planning process may reduce problems for one’s heirs, but without important legal clarification, some areas of oversight can create the problems that one hopes to avoid. A lawyer who is experienced in these matters may help in identifying areas of potential conflict and in creating the wording needed to clearly communicate the client’s intentions.
Source: Daily Finance, “Avoid These Estate Planning Nightmares“, Michele Lerner, December 13, 2014
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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.