What causes arguments over estate plans?

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Carl S. Goode |

Estate plans unfortunately cause a lot of friction within families for various reasons. Is it possible to reduce these conflicts?

Fortunately, the answer is yes. You need to do some of the work while you are still alive, however.

Reignition of old rivalries

Everplans looks into some of the common reasons for families arguing about estate plans. Many of these arguments stem from a misunderstanding of the will writer’s intentions.

For example, if one person feels like their siblings got an unfair advantage over them, it might remind them of old perceived slights from the past. These unearthed grudges might make them more likely to lash out against their siblings and other relatives, and try to contest the will.

How to prevent this

The best way to prevent this is by making your intentions clear from the start. If you want certain assets to go to certain people, explain to them why you chose that in person, rather than simply leaving a letter behind.

By engaging with your beneficiaries directly, you give them the chance to ask you any questions that they might otherwise not get an answer to. You can directly dispel any potential misunderstandings as they begin, rather than allowing them to fester and worsen.

Of course, not everything you say or do will be enough to truly explain your intentions to other people. Those who want to read your intentions in bad faith will do so, whether you tell them directly or indirectly.

However, by addressing people’s concerns directly, you can better prepare yourself to face anyone who has more stubborn issues.

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