Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

Helping your heirs avoid discord regarding your estate

Even if your children have always gotten along fairly well, there are several issues that may arise in your wake that can impede their sibling relationships. No Connecticut parent wants to imagine his or her children fighting over an estate; however, the reality is that, even close-knit relatives sometimes wind up not speaking for months or years over matters that initially seemed rather benign.  

There are several things you can do while you're still with your family, and while you're still of sound mind, to help them avoid disputes when the appointed party or parties administers your estate. Estate plans are highly personal documents; in fact, you can execute a customized plan to fit your own needs and goals. Some estate plans are simple while others are highly complex. In either case, problems can arise, but if you seek guidance before signing off on your plan, you may be able to prevent a lot of trouble.  

The Family Meeting 

It is technically possible for you to draft you plan first, then tell your kids about it later. That might not be the best way to go about it though, especially if your goal is to help your heirs and beneficiaries avoid disputes. The following list includes helpful ideas that may apply to your situation

  • Gather your family together ahead of time to go over the basics of your plan. By bringing your children together, you can make sure they all hear the same things and that they all understand your plan the same way. 
  • While there is no Connecticut law that says you must do so, it is generally a good idea to distribute your assets evenly among your kids. 
  • If you have jewels or other family heirlooms, you may want to specifically list them, as well as to whom you would like them to go, after you die.  

There are certain things that will be out of your control regarding your estate plan, such as if one of your children decides to contest your last will, for instance. Other issues can throw a wrench into things, such as someone claiming he or she deserved a greater inheritance than he or she did. 

Resolving estate disputes 

If your efforts to be clear and concise regarding your estate are not successful in preventing sibling rivalry or disagreements between other heirs and beneficiaries, you can at least point your family in the right direction for obtaining support by including contact information for an experienced estate planning attorney in the documents you leave your children.

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