The money that you have earned and saved throughout your professional life will become your legacy when you die. You can create an estate plan that assigns belongings to specific family members so that the people you love from a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice are rewarded.
Tragically, the legacies that people wish to leave for children and grandchildren can have negative effects on the recipients. On an individual level, not everyone handles an inheritance well. What is more concerning, on a familial level, is that disagreements about what you leave behind could tear your family apart.
Siblings and cousins could turn against one another, battling bitterly in court to get more of an inheritance than you intended for them to receive. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of family conflict regarding your estate when you die.
You can create a trust
A direct inheritance is hard for some people to manage, but access to valuable resources can be much less problematic. If you create a trust and fund it with your biggest assets, you can control how your loved ones use those resources. You also make it much more difficult for them to challenge your estate plan in probate court.
You can add a no-contest clause
In Tennessee, state law specifically allows for the inclusion of no-contest clauses in trusts and wills. By adding a clause to your documents, you can punish or disinherit someone who brings a challenge against your estate.
The only time the courts would not uphold a no-contest clause would be when someone has probable cause to suspect fraud or other serious issues.
You can talk openly with your family about your plans
When people know what property you have but not what you intend to do with it, they may develop wildly unrealistic expectations. A grandchild who thinks of themselves as your favorite might expect that you leave your house to them, for example.
Although it can sometimes be an awkward conversation to have, discussing your estate plan with all of your beneficiaries and those who might think they are beneficiaries but will not be can help prevent conflicts after you die. While some people may be upset with your decisions, they will have time to accept them before your death and the administration of your estate.
Engaging in the right estate planning tactics can reduce the challenges your loved ones will face after you die.