While the last thing we want to think about is our kids fighting over our assets when we die, the truth is this isn’t an uncommon experience. This is a time of highly charged emotions where infighting can happen over even the smallest matters – never mind who inherits what. Here are some guidelines on how to create a will which will stand up to any challenge:
- Get professional help: The legal system is built on laws as well as loopholes and it takes a lot of work and experience to develop a will that is airtight. For a document as important as this one, no amount of DIY will stand up to a considered legal challenge, so if you want your wishes to be heard, make sure you speak to an attorney with considerable estate planning knowledge and an eye for detail. They will ensure your wishes are executed as you have requested and that your will is able to stand up to any challenges.
- Stay up-to-date: Your finances and assets will change as your life changes – so don’t let anything slip by the wayside. You don’t have to revise your will every week, but you should certainly do it every three to five years. If your life undergoes a significant change however, from having a new child to winning the lottery, simply book an appointment as soon as you can.
- Appoint a strong executor: Your executor will be responsible for dealing with your estate’s paperwork, gathering assets, ensuring debts are paid and distributing the remainder. If there is likely to be any challenges to your will, you want to have an executor who is confident, strong and able to handle this infighting effectively. If you would like them to have additional help, your attorney can draft a third party – for example, a bank trust department – to assist them with administering your will.
- Tell your beneficiaries: Unlike in the movies, it’s best not to leave the announcement of who gets what until after your funeral. If you think your children or beneficiaries are going to fight, it’s best to let them know what your wishes are well in advance. This is best done in a calm, unemotional way where you can explain how you got to your decision. If there are certain things very important to family members that you were unaware of, this also gives you a chance to privately consider any changes.
Find an Estate Planning Attorney You Can Trust
In situations where you need to make difficult decisions about the distribution of your assets and the drafting of an ironclad will, it’s important your attorney is more than a legal representative – they need to be a trusted advisor. Frank Campisano is a dedicated and experienced estate planning specialist, with extensive legal expertise, on hand to assist you. By taking a personal, considered approach to all his clients, Frank is able to deliver the highest quality service while putting clients at ease. For more information on creating and managing your Last Will and Testament, please contact us today.