Protecting Your Estate From Family Infighting

At times, disputes between beneficiaries cannot be avoided and inheritance matters become contentious. Disagreements can arise as a result of grudges, resentment, revenge, sibling rivalry, blended family matters, or — most commonly — poorly established wills and trusts. Likewise, legal contests emerge if there are questions concerning the deceased's competency when the will was drafted.

Wiener and Wiener LLP has extensive experience helping beneficiaries reach accord. Our aim is to resolve disputes through mediation and negotiation, but we are seasoned courtroom lawyers and have often litigated such matters on behalf of our clients.

Over the years — and our firm has more than six decades of experience in estate planning — we have seen many families break apart as a result of arguments among heirs. In most cases, this could have been prevented by means of a few simple steps.

Sensible Planning Can Safeguard Your Family Against Litigation Later On

To prevent your beneficiaries from costly infighting, it is important to take special care when planning your estate. There are several crucial decisions to make, including:

  • Authorize trusted individuals — In the event that you should become incapacitated by illness or injury, it is crucial to have in place individuals who will carry out your wishes. As such, it is crucial to draft health care directives and powers of attorney agreements that designate who will manage your finances and medical care should extraordinary circumstances arise.
  • Be specific — Families often spend terrific amounts of money fighting over objects whose primary value is sentimental. When drafting your will or trust, it is important to specify your wishes not only with regard to high-asset values, but with all personal property that might interest your heirs. Likewise, naming a trustworthy executor, who will act according to your wishes and not his or her own, is essential.
  • Protect yourself against exploitation — Vulnerable adults are often taken advantage of. They fall prey to family members, unscrupulous caregivers, exploitative vendors. It is important to be cognizant early of such undertakings and to warn your loved ones to be vigilant for warning signs of errant activity.
  • Validate your will — One's intentions commonly go unmet for the simple reason that individuals fail to properly validate their will or trust documents. When appropriate, it may be helpful to make your plans for your estate known early on to family members, so that they do not contest your will and end up in heated disputes.

Ensuring Your Wishes Are Met

Based in Allentown, Wiener and Wiener LLP maintains a satellite office in West Palm Beach, allowing us to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and Florida. If you are seeking counsel for your estate, reach out to our firm. You can call us at 800-563-8276 or arrange a consultation online.