Disagreements and conflicts between family members aren’t uncommon. However, it can make it harder to decide who should get your New York home or who should serve as the executor of your estate. It may be possible to navigate family dynamics as they relate to your estate plan by having regular conversations with beneficiaries and constantly reviewing your plan to ensure that it meets your needs.
The importance of ongoing communication
There is no guarantee that a conversation or two will result in everyone agreeing with your estate planning decisions. However, an ongoing dialogue may make it easier for beneficiaries to understand where you are coming from and to refrain from engaging in battles for your possessions. Of course, it’s also possible that regular conversations may help to expose and heal the wounds that may have caused a rift between siblings or between yourself and your children.
Edit your estate plan if necessary
You can edit a will or trust to remove an estranged child or sibling as a beneficiary of your estate. You can also edit estate plan documents to stipulate that anyone who files a challenge is no longer entitled to an inheritance. Alternatively, you can put your assets in a trust so that no one knows about your intentions until after you pass away. Putting assets in a trust may also be ideal if you think that your beneficiaries will squander what they receive unless you put limitations on how assets can be used.
If you don’t think that you can trust your kids to appreciate their inheritances, you can choose to cut them out completely. Your will or trust could dictate that your money, tangible assets and other items be given to a local charity.
While family dynamics may complicate the estate planning process, you can still take steps to ensure that your final wishes are respected. You should review your estate plan every year to ensure that your affairs can be settled in a timely and effective manner.