There have been tons of cases when family members of a deceased person have had disputes and issues with how assets get divided after the death. This is not simply because of greed, but in some cases, unequal distribution unearths deep-seeded resentments or perceptions of unfair treatment. In some situations when the assets are worth a lot, what people stand to inherit can change their lives.
A probate lawyer is on hand to make sure that everything works out well, from estate planning to valuing the assets, until the claimants are informed and if there are issues that go to court, supporting them up to the end. Lots of people think that once there is a trust or a will, everything will go smoothly but in reality, conflicts can always arise and problems could even last years after the death of the family member.
Why Litigation Happens
The most common reason family members contest a will is not necessarily to get more money, but actually to question the mental and legal capacity of the deceased person at the time the trust was created. Unfortunately, as people grow older, mental abilities decrease and if they are under the care of someone, can be coerced into making decisions about their trust that they do not understand or want. After all, if they are highly dependent on their caretaker, going against their will can make their lives very uncomfortable or difficult. In these cases, litigation might be unavoidable in order to settle the dispute.
However, litigation is not something a family member wants unless they truly believe there is some wrongdoing that occurred. Going to court can be very expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally difficult for all parties. This is why a probate lawyer is very helpful to trust executors, as they are responsible for executing the will. In cases when they do not do their duties carefully, disagreements or worse, litigation might happen.
Proper Estate Planning Is The First Step
The most obvious step to avoid any issues with assets after death is to plan for it. Wills and trusts make it clearer to family members and friends how the deceased person wants to distribute assets. Being careful about this step and clear, as well as including a limiting liability, can truly prevent any issues, misunderstandings or worse, litigations.
It goes without saying that taking this step with a probate attorney Long Beach is the best way to do it. Unfortunately, there are those who try to save money or oversimplify this step by doing this on their own. While important forms can be found online or through other research, you will not be able to gain trustworthy advice from a lawyer who specializes in such situations. Worse, you might not realize that laws have changed or you might end up making a mistake in filling out these forms. In these cases, the will becomes completely useless and leaving your family in a state of limbo.
In some cases, clients have complicated situations like multiple marriages and children. Getting advice from a probate lawyer while drafting the will can anticipate potential issues and you can find a way to address them beforehand.
Open Communication And Good Organization Can Also Help
Being transparent with loved ones when you draw up your will or trust can help reduce confusion and other problems. Make the most of the opportunity to explain why you decided this way because you will not have this chance later on.
In some cases, it might also make sense to clarify some other aspects of the trust, like property that is shared, life insurance proceeds, or other proceeds in order to reduce future headaches. If transferring property will make it less complicated in the future, you may be advised so by a probate lawyer and he will also help execute them.
Do Not Do It Alone
When it comes to estate planning, every situation is different. This is why if you know other families that had no complications, this is no reason to expect the same for your family. The best thing is to talk to a lawyer specifically about your case and get the best advice. After all, you do not want your passing to be a reason for the family to unravel and end up fighting.