Many parents and grandparents are concerned about estate disputes when making their estate plans. They know that they want to leave assets to heirs and beneficiaries, but they also know that a dispute could put these people at odds with each other, and that would be very problematic for their family.
It is possible to plan in advance to help lower the odds of an estate dispute. This starts with understanding why these disputes happen. Below are a few potential reasons.
Some studies have shown that unequal bequests are more common than they used to be. Parents do not always leave the same amount of assets to their children as often as they used to, sometimes opting for an unfair division. While parents are allowed to make their own decisions regarding how they want to distribute their money, unequal bequests can increase the odds of a dispute.
Items with sentimental value often cause estate disputes. The general reasoning here is that heirs will want the exact same item because they have an emotional connection to it – a piece of artwork, a book collection, a set of dishes, etc. There may not be much financial value, but disputes are based on the emotional connection.
Finally, it’s just very important for the estate plan to be clear. If things are ambiguous and heirs have to make decisions about what you would have wanted, it’s much more likely that they will get involved in a dispute.
When making your estate plan, there are steps you can take to lower the chances of a dispute. Be sure you know what legal options you have.