Estate planning is often considered one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones. By having a will, you can help prevent unnecessary stress and confusion in the days and months following your death. A well-thought out estate plan can also provide valuable peace of mind.
So how can you ensure that your best laid plans are effective in practice? We've put together some helpful tips to guide you.
Choose The Right Executor
Being an executor is no easy feat. While it's an honour to be chosen as someone entrusted with an estate, it also requires a lot of work and patience. When choosing an executor, take the time to ensure that the person is up to the job.
Think about whether they are reliable, if they are punctual, and what their relationship is to you. Will they be comfortable handling your affairs or will it take away from time they'd prefer to spend doing something else? It is best to never assume that someone wants to be an executor. Having a conversation about the role and expectations is imperative.
Speak With Your Beneficiaries
People are often surprised when fights erupt over seemingly meaningless keepsakes following a death. While it makes sense to square away matters relating to major assets, it's important to talk to your loved ones about other personal property matters too.
Sometimes, an emotional attachment carries more weight than monetary value, something that is easily overlooked during the estate planning process. To prevent stressful disputes, make sure that you have conversations with your beneficiaries so that you're leaving nothing to chance.
Explain Your Decisions
A key part of preventing estate litigation is providing clear, thoughtful explanations behind your decisions. In the emotionally charged period of time following a death, it can help to be reminded of the rationale behind choices. If you created a trust with certain conditions, it could help to explain why. If you bequeathed an asset to one family member over the other, providing a back story could assuage hurt feelings. When it comes to wills, it's typically best to avoid ambiguity.
Get The Right Advice
If, despite their best intentions, someone close to you has left a will that has resulted in conflict, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Navigating will variations, interpretation, and disputes is complex which makes having an experienced professional so critical.
Having a lawyer who understands the ins and outs of sorting out estate issues while remaining sensitive to your family's needs and relationships can make a big difference in how the process ultimately plays out.