Planning for death is not something most people want to talk about. But if there is no plan in place following the death of a loved one, a fight over the assets of that person is a very real possibility.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and these disputes can be avoided. Talk to your Hoffman Estates lawyer, Robert M. Kaplan, for the specifics of your estate planning. And read on for some tips on avoiding a battle over inheritance.
Leave a Will
This is the simplest way to avoid disputes. Even if you think your heirs will know what you want because you had a discussion about it, that doesn’t mean there will be agreement about it after you are gone. Furthermore, an oral will is not legal; to be legally binding, a will must be in writing.
If you don’t have one, the state will generally determine how your assets are distributed after you die.
It’s always better to have a will, but if you plan ahead well enough, you might not need one and you might be able to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process of transferring property after a person dies. It can be expensive (court costs and attorney fees), and it can take quite a while to complete (up to a year). It also provides more opportunities for your heirs to disagree about their inheritance.
By setting up joint property agreements, death beneficiaries, revocable living trusts, and giving away gifts before you die, you might be able to avoid the potential issues of probate.
Create Living Wills and Powers of Attorney
Inheritance disagreements often come from decisions people make later in life. A living will, which gives your family instructions on your medical care if you are incapacitated, makes your wishes clear before an emergency situation comes up.
A durable power of attorney gives someone the right to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated. This can include decisions about your healthcare, but it also encompasses financial decisions.
Creating both of these while you are young and healthy can help avoid any disputes over whether or not you are of sound mind.
Contact Our Hoffman Estates Law Firm
Help your family avoid inheritance disputes by planning ahead. Call Robert M. Kaplan for estate planning in Hoffman Estates.