Are you concerned your estate is going to go into litigation following your passing? Estate litigation is the process by which the estate is being contested by one or more parties. If you are worried about this happening with your estate, discuss your concerns with your estate planning lawyer. There are a number of ways to avoid these costly court proceedings. These include the following:
- Gift your assets: because so many fights occur over sentimental property following someone’s passing, considering gifting as much of your property possible prior to your passing. If you do not feel comfortable with this practice, add conditions to your will outlining these properties.
- Discuss with your estate planning lawyer all situations where joint tenancy is involved, and inquire regarding how to handle this in the estate planning process.
- Be sure to account for your spouse and children fairly in order to avoid the Wills Variation Act. If you do not handle each person fairly, the courts will consider their case. Discuss this condition in greater detail with your estate planning attorney.
- If you are unable to find an executor for your estate within your family or close peers, hire a professional executor to handle your estate following your passing in order to avoid in-fighting, disputes and contests.
- Plan your estate early in order to avoid surprises, and so you are able to update your plan regularly as life circumstances change. Review these changes with your estate planning attorney regularly, particularly in the cases of new marriages and blended families.
- Hold a discussion with your primary care physician regarding whether or not you are able to adequately participate in creating a will or creating a trust. If they believe you are unable to do so, you are effectively avoiding negative influences and other related challenges.
Another important point many people overlook during the estate planning process is putting the will and trusts in a place where people can easily find them. Keep copies of all of the documents within your estate plan in a safety deposit box or in files in your home office. Communicate where all of these documents, including the ones held by your estate planning lawyer, are being stored.
In addition to these points listed, there are a number of others your estate planning lawyer will go over with you in order to have effective asset protection planning in place.