If you have a big family, you may run into trouble with your will. Though you may have a loving relationship with each of your heirs, they may have issues with each other. Sibling rivalry is all too common in American families. Often, this internal strife spills over during times of stress or periods of grief. When a parent dies, their children will experience both.
To help your children work through your passing and the complicated process of dividing your estate, you can use a transparent estate planning technique. Transparent estate planning can prevent your heirs from filing a claim against the will.
Let your children in on the estate plan
Approaching an estate plan by focusing on the family can help get in front of any issues your heirs may have with the will or each other. Transparent estate planning helps communicate your estate plan to your family with three simple steps:
- Hire the right lawyer: The right attorney can make all the difference when assembling an estate plan. The best lawyers will have experience compiling various legal documents from different sources across decades of your life into one comprehensive plan. Personal accountants, financial advisors and wealth managers may offer recommendations.
- Draft a financial review: The best way to organize what your family needs to know is with a financial review. This document lists the estate’s assets, liabilities and insurance policies and the beneficiaries; login info for important accounts; contact information for all professionals involved in the estate plan; and a letter detailing nonfinancial items you want to go to your heirs.
- Hold a family meeting: You can inform your heirs of all relevant information in a family meeting. A meeting enables you to outline your intentions with your plan, introduce the estate executor to your family, highlight how important communication and honesty will be during the process and ask questions. This meeting can help your family voice their concerns and work out their differences before filing a claim against the will.
Do you need to revisit your estate plan?
If you need to revisit your estate plan, make sure to hire a local attorney familiar with estate planning and probate litigation. A lawyer can answer your questions, effectively organize decades of estate planning documents and draft a comprehensive will that helps the whole family.