Estate planning viewed through the lens of asset protection.®

How to Avoid a “Family Feud”

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2018 | Firm News |

How to Avoid a “Family Feud” In Your Estate Plan

For many estate planning clients, it is imperative that they get their documents drafted and signed so that they can rest easy in the knowledge that they have their plans in place.

Consequently, it is easy to overlook the effect that certain trust provisions may have on their family members. Having a conversation with your family about provisions in your trust could save them a lot of headaches down the road. After all, you don’t want your legacy to your children to be a lack of trust between them.

One potential mistake that clients will make in their estate plans is to name their children as trustees of each other’s trusts. Being a trustee can be both stressful and confusing if the person being named is not aware of their responsibilities. If trustees do not act properly, then they could risk legal entanglements, not to mention disagreements and tensions among family members.

With this consideration in mind, a corporate trustee may be a solution. Corporate trustees typically have a lot of experience in dealing with trusts and, best of all, don’t have any of the emotional attachments that can often muddy the waters for family members.

Some clients are afraid to hire a corporate trustee due to concerns over their fees. In the long run, however, it is likely that a corporate trustee will cost far less than years of legal disputes among their children.

Regardless of whether clients choose individual or corporate trustees, it is important that they include provisions in their estate plans allowing for trustees to be replaced.

Additionally, it may be useful to set up separate trusts for each child through your estate plan. By doing so, clients reduce the likelihood of conflict among their children after their death, as they will not have to settle one another disputes. Each child is free to raise their own challenges to their advisors as well as name their own trustees.

Finally, you should consider leaving your children both a financial will that leaves them with their assets, as well as an ethical will which will give them guidance after your death.

Regardless of whether your children get along during your lifetime, there is no way for you to predict how they might act after your death. Make the provisions in your estate plan while you can that will protect them against conflicts with each other after you’re gone.

Avoid a “family feud.” Call today 858-564-7090 to make an appointment to start your estate plan. Or, let Rod review your current plan to make sure there are no areas of possible family contention after you pass.

Based on New York Times article: