When distributing a family’s estate, the estate executor takes on a huge task. Often an outsider, this person must deal with several mourning family members who likely have strong opinions about their deceased parents’ estate. Sometimes, these opinions erupt into conflict among heirs, leading to claims against the will and damaged familial relationships. Most parents would like to prevent this from happening.
Thankfully, parents can head these problems off with transparent estate planning. This open process can help heirs understand their parents’ decisions. Transparency can ease the inheritance process and help families stay together through a time of mourning.
3 steps to transparent estate planning
Parents can follow these three steps when designing their estate plan to reduce conflict among heirs and smooth over the inheritance process:
- Hire the right lawyer: An estate plan is a collection of legal documents, lists of assets and insurance policies. A lawyer with experience working with Texas estate laws can understand these collected documents and locate all relevant assets. Certified public accountants and financial advisors may have recommendations for local attorneys.
- Draw up a financial overview: A financial overview allows parents to explain the decisions of their estate plan. These documents list all assets and property, contact info for financial and legal professionals familiar with the family estate, login information for financial websites, and a legacy letter to communicate non-financial items to their heirs.
- Host a family meeting: Informing the family is integral to transparent estate planning. This meeting allows parents to outline their intentions, introduce the estate administrator, emphasize communication and transparency between family members, and discussing the inheritance of family heirlooms or other non-financial assets.
Start drafting an estate plan today
Every adult should have at least a will in place, if not a comprehensive and transparent estate plan. Drafting a plan with the family in mind can reduce conflict over the inheritance process and keep siblings together through a challenging time.