Create an Estate Plan Now That Prevents Family Fighting Later

Family squabblesIt’s not uncommon for parents to be mediators between their children. But after they pass away, siblings can battle more frequently and more aggressively.

The challenges of maintaining family relationships are that much greater when money is involved. Added stress is present when blended families can’t trust one another and don’t get along.  You might be surprised at the amount of money that can cause arguments. It doesn’t have to be a fortune—deep-seated feelings of rivalry and jealously are, in many instances, at the root of the problem. With that in mind, let’s look at four ideas to consider in an attempt to avoid a battle royal over your assets:

  • Irrevocable Trusts. When the parents are both alive, they can consider a trust. Irrevocable trusts can’t be modified by the children or even the surviving spouse. They will protect the aging parents from themselves. They also can let the children know that other beneficiaries can’t inflict undue influence.
  • Preplanning. Don’t force family members to make financial decisions during a family crisis. Consult with an estate planning attorney to talk about how to best address your specific situation.
  • Hire a Corporate Trustee. This can alleviate the scenario of children being pitted against one another. A trustee can be appointed to be responsible for administration. If you name one family member as a trustee for the other family member, it places the family in a precarious situation if there’s a disagreement about how the trustee is managing the trust. A corporate trustee can manage investment accounts, businesses, farms, and real estate. The costs of a trust company might be a small price to pay for keeping peace in the family.
  • Have a Family Conference. The family should meet, especially if the parents decide that “fair doesn’t mean equal.” It’s hard to explain how and why an estate will be distributed in a will or a trust. A face-to-face discussion is the best way to address any issues. A family meeting to talk about estate planning, with an experienced estate planning attorney to lead the process, can help keep peace in the family.

Reference: Motley Fool (November 7, 2016) “Avoid family fights over inheritance”


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.