Maybe you remarried after a messy divorce and your children never got along with your new spouse. Perhaps you have two kids who constantly gang up on their younger sibling. If you live in a conflict-prone family, the chances are you already know it.
Those family conflicts aren’t just going to stop when you pass away. If anything, the administration of your estate may heighten those tensions and lead to increased family conflict. Thankfully, knowing the nature of your family makes it easier for you to be proactive while estate planning and to create solutions that will prevent additional conflict after you die.
Consider creating a trust to reduce the likelihood of challenges
When you leave behind a last will, members of your family could challenge that will and possibly have it thrown out. The result could be the courts enforcing an earlier version of your will or handling your estate as though you died without one.
In order to maintain control over your legacy and limit the impact of challenges brought by family members, you may want to consider creating a trust.
Add a clause forbidding your heirs from challenging the estate
Some people who know that a challenge is likely and want to actively prevent their family from undermining their wishes choose to create a punishment for those who create conflict after their death.
Including a no-contest clause in your last will can remove the potential financial incentive for bringing a challenge. The no-contest clause could reduce the amount of inheritance that someone who brings a challenge receives or possibly completely disinherit them.
Be transparent about your intentions with your family members
It can be very unpleasant to have to acknowledge that you want to leave one of your children more than the others or that you intend for your spouse to receive more than your combined children will from your estate.
However, if you don’t disclose those preferences now, your wishes may confuse and upset people later and increase the likelihood of them dragging your estate through probate court. Careful planning and consideration of your family’s dynamics can help you reduce the likelihood of a challenge diminishing the value of your estate and undermining your legacy.