Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer Discusses How to Avoid Inheritance Disputes

disputes, Naperville estate planning attorneyLast month, the patriarch of one of music’s royal families passed away at age 89. Joe Jackson was the father of Michael, Janet, and the Jackson 5, but most sources avoid indicating that he was a loving, nurturing parent. Joe’s death is not likely to create as much controversy as Michael’s did in 2009. When the King of Pop passed away, arguments and litigation arose regarding his estate—issues that continued to plague the family for years.

As an estate planning attorney, I have seen many families torn apart by disputes over inheritances and the disposition of a loved one’s estate. Every single day, families who are far less famous than the Jacksons experience feelings of pain, betrayal, and loss over money and property. While there is no possible way to completely eliminate all potential inheritance disputes, there are a few things you can do to alleviate some of the risks.

  • Communicate with your family about your estate plan. Talking about death and your estate plan can be very difficult, but it is extremely important. Let your family know well in advance about your choices, and keep them abreast of any changes that you make along the way;
  • Give your family the chance to ask questions and have input. Your estate plan should reflect your wishes, but there is nothing wrong with allowing your loved ones to voice any concerns or questions they may have. By opening a two-way dialogue, you can help your family understand the choices you have made, and you can better understand the issues they are worried about;
  • Create an estate plan while you are healthy. Waiting to draft an estate plan until you are elderly or diagnosed with a serious illness is a recipe for disaster. Estate planning should be done carefully and intentionally, and health concerns can raise questions about your ability to make decisions about your estate;
  • Update your estate planning documents regularly. Estate planning is not a “one-and-done” proposition. It is a process that should be revisited from time to time to reflect changes in your family’s situation. If your child gets married or divorced, or has a child of his or her own, you may want to amend how your estate is to be distributed. You will also need to make changes if your chosen executor or power of attorney becomes unable or unwilling to carry out their assigned responsibilities; and
  • Do not go through the process of estate planning alone. It is important to seek guidance as you develop and amend your estate plan. A skilled estate planning lawyer can help you stay current on new laws and court rulings, as well as offer additional strategies for reducing the chance of inheritance disputes.

If you would like to begin the process of estate planning, The Gierach Law Firm is ready to help. Contact one of our experienced Naperville estate planning attorneys by calling 630-756-1160 today.