Estate planning is a process that every individual should undertake, regardless of the perceived value of their assets. A recent study found that most estates are worth between $50,000 and $250,000. Only 11% of all estates are worth over a million dollars. But regardless of the estate’s total value, one common factor is family conflict. Nearly 45% of survey respondents in that same study indicated that family conflict regarding estate issues has impacted their family in some way.
You certainly do not want your loved ones having to sort through these issues that may cause conflict or to try to interpret your wishes after you’re no longer around. And you can make things a lot easier for your loved ones by developing a streamlined method for how your assets can pass on to them.
A major reason why many people don’t establish an estate plan, much less discuss it with their loved ones, is the fear of conflict. However, you can do a lot of good by having these conversations upfront so that the people closest to you know what to expect when you pass away.
In fact, you can significantly decrease the possibility of conflict by having these conversations early. This is why it makes sense to schedule a consultation with a trusted estate planning lawyer to walk through your options and to discuss how you might be able to clearly communicate these matters to loved ones who need to know in advance.
Of course, many people are uncomfortable with discussing everything with their kids and would rather keep things private. That’s perfectly understandable, but in that case it’s even more important to make sure your wishes are crystal clear and spelled out in your written estate plan. The number of arguments that have arisen from people saying, “Oh, the kids get along, they’ll sort it out” is astronomical. What do you think is the best scenario for avoiding conflict? Making decisions yourself now, when things are cool, calm and collected OR leaving those decisions for the kids to make immediately in the emotional wake of the death of their parents? Also, kids may grow up and mature, but the loss of a parent has a way of stirring up deep-seated childhood emotions and conflicts like nothing else.
No matter what you hope to accomplish with your estate plan, your wishes surely do not include your loved ones fighting about your intentions or what they receive. Look to a Michigan estate planning law firm to support your comprehensive estate plan.