You likely know you should prepare an estate plan, but you may not have done it yet. According to a survey from Caring.com, only 4 out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a living trust or a will.
Planning your estate can help you protect your desires for end-of-life care and ensure the seamless transfer of your assets to the right beneficiaries upon your death. Your estate plan can also help you prevent conflict among friends and family members regarding their inheritance.
1. Avoid assuming everyone will get along
Events surrounding the death of a loved one are very emotional and because of these elevated emotions, even family members who typically get along may experience conflict. As you plan your estate, provide clear directions for the transfer of your assets instead of assuming your heirs will objectively handle your estate.
2. Plan your estate proactively
Do not wait until the last minute to estate plan. You should also make planning your estate a priority while you are in good health and can clearly think about what you want to happen to your assets.
3. Talk to your family about your plans
Holding a family meeting to discuss your estate plan can help you effectively prevent conflict within your family after you die. Use this meeting as an opportunity to explain the decisions you made and to allow your intended beneficiaries to ask questions about your wishes. Make sure your beneficiaries feel comfortable taking on the roles you hope they will assume after your death.
4. Update your estate regularly
Any time a major life event occurs, such as a divorce, a birth, a marriage or a death, review your current estate plan and adjust it accordingly. This can help you preserve your wishes and reduce the likelihood that one of your family members will take issue with your inheritance plans.