Estate Planning 101: How to Prevent Family Disputes

BY: Law Offices of Andrew Cohen | July 21, 2022

You’ve worked hard to save and invest, take care of your family and yourself.  Maybe you own a home or a business.  Perhaps multiple real estate investments.  Whatever you have, most people I speak with want to make sure they have a plan for their loved ones to inherit. And, chances are you want to avoid conflict or disputes among family members when your property is distributed in the future.

Conflict avoidance is one of many important reasons to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney. An experienced attorney can help you better understand the various steps you may take to minimize the chances that loved ones will fight with over an inheritance. Examples of steps you might take now include the following:

Create a Trust

When you create a trust, you place assets under the control of a trustee (who might be yourself, or someone else, depending on the circumstances) who has the authority to determine how the assets in the trust will be managed and allocated.

There are numerous reasons to create a trust instead of a will. One of your goals may be to limit the odds of your family struggling to determine who should inherit what after you pass away. Other times, you may need to have someone handle assets on behalf of a beneficiary in the future. Making sure the right people, inherit the right assets, in a proper manner, is critical. A trust can guard against someone contesting your will in a manner that conflicts with your intentions.

A trust also helps your loved ones avoid the probate process. Probate is expensive, rather inefficient, and does not provide for much control. Beneficiaries are typically much better served by having a Trust in place for them than ‘just’ a Will.

Write a Will

A Will is among the most basic ways you can guard against potential conflict among your family members and anyone else to whom you may be leaving money or assets after your passing. However, a Will has drawbacks. It requires probate process. A Will doesn’t provide much, if anything, in the way of controlling assets on behalf of others. Many people make the mistake of informally drafting their own wills without thoroughly coordinating with experts who can help them ensure that their wills are not only enforceable, but that they also address all critical details. Or, if a Will is even proper for their circumstances (Hint, it’s probably not enough).

Contact a Santa Clarita Estate Planning Attorney Today

Everyone’s financial situation is unique. The best way to determine how you should go about preventing conflicts after your death is to work directly with a legal professional who has experience helping clients like yourself navigate these complex matters.

At the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen, you’re find an experienced, caring professional who will listen to your needs and work with you to design and implement a plan for your unique circumstances. To learn more about what a Santa Clarita estate planning attorney can do for you, contact our offices online or call us at 661-481-0100 to schedule a meeting.

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