The last thing you want is your family to squabble over your estate once you die. You do not want your relatives fighting over money and assets. Instead, you want the probate process to go as smoothly as possible.
You must remember that probate litigation is a possibility. Your family may experience a lot of stress and have several concerns once you pass away. Here are some estate planning best practices you can follow to reduce the chances of your family fighting over their inheritance.
1. Explain surprising decisions
It is normal for you to leave a substantial portion of your estate to your children and grandchildren. If you are disinheriting one of your heirs or leaving something significant to someone outside of your family, you should communicate these choices while you are alive. While your family may not agree with all of your decisions, at least they will understand your thoughts and will be less likely to argue about it.
2. Choose a trustworthy executor
The person you designate to administer your estate will impact the way your inheritors feel about the process. Pick a person who is reliable, hardworking, organized and communicative with others. This will keep your beneficiaries from becoming suspicious.
3. Update your estate plan regularly
It is always a good idea to revisit your estate plan at consistent intervals and whenever a major change happens in your family. An out-of-date estate plan will be more susceptible to scrutiny. If your will is decades old, your heirs may be more anxious about its contents. The more you revise your estate plan and keep it current, the more secure your family will feel about their inheritance.
4. Avoid probate
A will contest is one of the most common forms of probate litigation. You can avoid this by passing along certain aspects of your estate outside of probate. This is possible through designating beneficiaries, establishing joint tenancy and giving gifts.