When designing an estate plan, parents usually draft their wills and life insurance policies to extend a benefit to their children upon death. Over time, as their children eventually have families of their own, parents often revisit these plans to make adjustments that reflect new family dynamics.
When a parent dies, the estate executor begins distributing assets and property. This individual works to satisfy creditors, pay debts and hear claims against the will. Some of these claims may stem from a disgruntled family member dissatisfied with their share of the inheritance. Parents can avoid these sibling disputes with a three-step strategy to estate planning.
3 steps to reduce family conflicts
Siblings may have any number of problems with the handling of their parents’ estate. The family may not agree on which property to sell, who pays funeral expenses or even the executor. Families can take these problems head-on during the estate planning process by following these three steps:
- Hire a lawyer familiar with estate planning. A local attorney with experience in Kentucky estate planning can help decipher insurance policies, distribute the will and deal with creditors.
- Prepare a financial review: A financial overview helps an estate executor understand the expectations of the decedent and their heirs. A clearly defined overview can help children communicate with the executor and understand their parents’ wishes. A comprehensive review will include a list of all financial assets and the beneficiary of each, contact information for all financial professionals familiar with the family’s finances, usernames and passwords for financial accounts, and instructions on distributing heirlooms and other property.
- Hold a family meeting: Families can encourage cooperation and teamwork with clear communication and transparency. A family meeting is an ideal situation to inform heirs about the plans for the family estate. This meeting should cover the parents’ intentions, introducing an executor, discussing inheritance amounts, and deciding what to do with family heirlooms and non-financial legacy items.
Bring questions to an attorney
Families with outstanding questions about the best approach to estate planning and find answers with a local lawyer familiar with wills, estate law and probate. A trusted attorney can serve as executor, draft legal documents and help work with the courts.