It is important to plan for the future and put together an estate plan that includes a will, trusts and other documents. But if you are like many adults in the U.S., you may not have started your estate plan.
According to a survey conducted by Caring.com, only 4 out of 10 adults in the U.S. have made a legal will or a living trust. If you have put off estate planning out of concerns related to family conflict, the following tips can help you reduce tensions when it comes to your estate.
Communicate your wishes clearly
Family disputes often arise when one person does not communicate his or her estate planning wishes clearly. In your will and other estate planning documents, specify exactly how you want to distribute your major assets to reduce the likelihood of a disagreement.
Appoint a non-family trustee
You may want to appoint a family member to act as the executor or the fiduciary of your estate. Although this can work in some situations, think carefully about the decision to let a loved one manage your estate.
Implement safeguards to reduce issues
If family conflicts already exist, implement safeguards in your estate plan to reduce the escalation of these issues. For example, instead of allowing siblings to divide family heirlooms among themselves, name specific beneficiaries for every item.
After you put together your estate plan, you may want to hold a meeting to talk about what you decided. This can reduce resentment and confusion among your family members when your estate plan goes into effect.