VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Some common sources of estate conflicts

As Florida residents enter the later years of life, they might think about creating an estate plan. This process frequently involves writing a will, but people should be mindful of how their heirs might respond to their decisions. Squabbles and outright legal battles among siblings, surviving spouses or other heirs could emerge from unequal bequests or inadequate executors.

Siblings left differing amounts of an estate might resent each other and fight after the death of a parent. Parents often have valid reasons for dividing an inheritance unequally among their children. They might reason that a financially successful child does not need as much money as one who has struggled. A child who provided care and attention during a parent's illness and decline might reasonably be rewarded with a larger share. Although parents might not wish to discuss their motivations with their heirs, they could prevent lifelong anger among children by explaining their reasons while they are still alive.

Everyone who writes a will must choose an executor to manage their estate. People often choose someone like an eldest son, spouse or friend. Problems arise when the executor lacks the skills or temperament to perform the necessary administrative tasks. A person might prevent future conflicts by hiring a professional fiduciary from a bank's trust department.

Legal advice could help a person avoid mistakes that cause conflicts. A consultation with an attorney could provide a person with insights about taxation of heirs and protection from creditors. An attorney could also inform the person about other important elements of estate planning like guardianships, powers of attorney or trusts.

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