Estate disputes can happen for a multitude of reasons, and parents are often worried about this possibility. They don’t want their adult children to have a falling out over their estate that lasts for the rest of their life.
But how can parents prevent this from happening? The first step is just to understand why these disputes might happen so that they can make proactive plans to avoid them. With that in mind, here are three potential reasons for a dispute.
1. Sentimental items
Sentimental items can be very problematic because heirs don’t care about the financial value. They can’t sell the item and split the money, or neither person would get what they want. As a result, when two people want the same item with the same sentimental value, there may not be a compromise or a solution that makes everyone happy.
2. The plan is too ambiguous
In some cases, estate plans may not be direct enough to avoid disputes. For instance, rather than picking one person to make medical decisions with a healthcare power of attorney, the estate plan may just say that the heirs should work together to determine what the best options are. But if they don’t agree about proper medical treatment options, then a dispute is inevitable.
3. There is no plan at all
Finally, many estate disputes occur because parents do not leave a plan at all. Heirs and beneficiaries have to make all of the decisions. With no guidance, they often disagree about what their parent would have wanted, but there’s no way for them to determine what that actually would have been.
Those who are drafting an estate plan or working through a dispute need to know what legal options they have. With proper planning, many disputes can be avoided.