Family may be the biggest reason people put together their estate plan. However, according to a recent survey, family conflict may be the biggest threat to your plan.
And the Survey Says . . .
At a recent meeting of the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, discussion turned toward problems with estate planning. Specifically, a financial institution called TD Wealth conducted a survey to learn what issues can cause the most problems with an estate plan. The answer was a bit surprising.
Almost half of the survey respondents (46%) chose family conflict as the primary risk to estate planning. The second and third risks fell far behind: market volatility at 24 percent and tax reform at 14 percent.
The causes of family conflict were also identified:
- Designation of beneficiaries (30%),
- Failing to communicate the estate plan to family members (25%), and
- Dealing with blended families (21%).
So, what can you do to minimize or avoid family conflicts that might derail your estate plan?
Minimize Family Conflict
It is possible to plan ahead for family disagreements. Some of the following actions might help:
- Recognize that Family Conflict Exists. If your family gatherings involve skirmishes over minor problems, just think about the battles they may have over your estate plan. Be honest about how your family gets along.
- Communicate Your Plans. Take time to tell your family about your estate plan. Give bad news privately, rather than in a group meeting.
- Update Your Estate Plan as Needed. Life changes and so should your estate plan. Family conflict may be more likely to erupt if your estate plan is out of sync with your family’s circumstances.
One way to reduce family conflict is to make sure your estate plan complies with the law while clearly presenting your final preferences. For this, you need an experienced estate planning attorney.
Will Family Conflict Jeopardize Your Carefully Prepared Estate Plan?
Planning for family disagreements can go a long way toward preventing or at least minimizing them.
Call Bruce Adams. He has the skills and experience to help with your estate planning concerns. Please contact us at 256-237-3339 to set up an appointment or use the convenient Contact form on our website. Our office is located in Anniston, Alabama, but we assist clients in surrounding Calhoun, Cleburne, Etowah, and St. Clair Counties.