Avoiding Family Friction With Your Estate Plan

Building your estate plan means building a secure and solid future for your family.  Every family is different, and therefore every estate plan is different.  Some families may need irrevocable trusts while others may need healthcare powers of attorney.  Still others may just need simple wills.  Regardless of the size or complexity of your estate plan, you may be concerned that there could be friction in your family as a result of the decisions you make with respect to your plans for the future.  There are some simple ways to help avoid family friction with your estate plan.

First, keep in mind that there is absolutely no requirement that you disclose the contents of your estate plan to anyone.  This is true even with regard to who you name as your personal representative in your will or the person you nominate to serve as the guardian of your minor child in the event of your death.  You are under no obligation to discuss your estate plan with anyone.  Accordingly, one way to avoid friction may be to simply not discuss the subject at all.

Another way to avoid family friction is to meet with your attorney alone.  Although you may have well-meaning relatives who want to help you with the process, your estate planning attorney is in the best position to advise you on how to use your estate plan to reach your goals.  Your relative may want to insert his or her opinion as to how your estate should be structured, regardless of your goals or your attorney’s advice.  Leaving those people out of your attorney meetings is the best way to avoid creating friction.

You can also help avoid family friction by thinking carefully about who you choose to be your personal representative.  Your personal representative is the person responsible for bring your estate to probate after you pass away, gathering assets, paying debts, and distributing what is left in accordance with your will.  Choosing a careless or confrontational individual can mean that your family is involved in unnecessary conflict or even litigation for months or years after you pass away.

We have extensive experience helping our clients with creating an estate plan to fit their individual needs.  Call us today at 651-413-9568 and schedule a consultation.