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Transparent estate planning can reduce family strife

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2020 | Estate Planning

A will is a vital part of a person’s estate plan. This document outlines how the decedent’s estate distributes to their heirs. An executor chosen by the decedent oversees this process.

Sometimes, the parent’s heirs may not agree with the estate distribution, perhaps feeling skeptical about the executor or creditor claims. Between the grief of losing a parent and dealing with probate court, these disagreements between siblings can become rifts. What can parents do to prevent these conflicts?

3 steps to a smoother distribution of assets

Parents can use transparent estate planning to prevent siblings from arguing over heirlooms or submitting a claim to probate court. These guidelines can help parents explain their decisions, address concerns and stop sibling infighting before it starts:

  1. Find an attorney familiar with Ohio estate laws: A knowledgeable lawyer can help design a comprehensive estate plan or interpret one previously drafted.
  2. Assemble a financial overview: Parents can help their children understand their estate plan with a financial overview. This letter can help the executor distribute assets and share their motivations with their family. The overview should include a complete list of assets and their locations, contact information for all financial and legal professionals involved in the estate, login information for important accounts, and information about the distribution of nonfinancial assets and heirlooms.
  3. Inform the family: A family meeting allows parents the opportunity to talk to their heirs openly. Parents can explain their estate planning decisions, introduce the executor and encourage transparency and communication. Heirs can ask questions, raise concerns or make requests for certain heirlooms. This meeting is an appropriate setting for siblings to hash out problems that may escalate a parent’s death.

Seek legal counsel for more information

Parents interested in trying the above process can bring their questions to an attorney familiar with Ohio estate laws. A lawyer can draft wills, navigate dense insurance paperwork and work with the probate courts.


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