When you have a close family, the last thing you would expect after you are gone is for your loved ones to fight over your estate. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario for many California families, as we at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo are aware. Naturally, you want to help your family avoid conflict and stay close, and one of the most effective ways to achieve this is by carefully planning your will or trusts to avoid any confusion or hard feelings.
Choosing the executor of your will is one of the first things to consider even before you consult your estate planning attorney. According to AARP, the person you choose as your executor should be someone trustworthy, intelligent and conscientious. Your first instinct might be to choose your eldest child. After consideration, however, you might realize one of your younger children or an impartial third party might be best suited for the task. The following ideas might also help you prevent a probate dispute after your death:
- Consider gifting some of your assets to your relatives while you are alive.
- Hold a family meeting, during which you allow your loved ones to choose heirlooms to remember you by, and make a list of everyone’s choices to include in your will.
- Be fair and equal in your estate distribution so nobody feels left out or slighted. If you must exclude a family member or leave an unequal inheritance, explain your reasons clearly in your will.
- Update your estate planning when there are significant changes to your assets or family situation.
Our page on estate planning explains more about your options to avoid disputes and preserve family harmony.