Most Californians create their wills or trusts in the hope that their estate planning will avoid disputes and maintain family harmony after they are gone. Unfortunately, fights over inheritances can happen even with the most solidly-planned will and the closest families. You might wonder how to prevent this from happening with your loved ones.
Understanding certain warning signs that a dispute may be forthcoming is a good place to start. As FindLaw explains, some situations, like having more than one will, may leave your estate vulnerable to a family feud. Other circumstances may include the following:
- A caregiver who is exerting undue influence – usually a family member, who may pressure you into giving him or her a larger portion of the inheritance or try to trick you into signing documents you do not understand
- Naming more than one person as a trustee or executor of your will
- Sibling rivalry - knowing that not all your children get along or that they compete to have an advantage over each other
- Leaving a family member out of your will
- Giving a loved one financial assistance with what may be a portion of the others’ inheritance
- A disparity in the financial situations of your loved ones
It is not always possible to prevent a fight over your estate, especially if some of your loved ones are contentious or competitive. However, when you anticipate some disputes, you may lessen the chances of an argument causing a rift in the family. Since estate planning and probate matters are often complex, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.