The last thing that parents want after they pass away is for their children to fight about the will or estate plan. These conflicts can drive siblings apart or even compromise the family estate.
Parents will always worry about the family after they are gone, but they may not anticipate the serious divide that grief can cause. So what can parents do to help their families handle the estate plan?
Involve the family in the planning
To reduce potential conflict among siblings, parents have options. To encourage transparency and communication, parents can follow the below three-step process:
- Secure an experienced attorney: The best estate attorneys come with references. Choose a lawyer familiar with Texas estate planning laws, probate and drafting wills.
- Draw up a financial overview: This supplemental document can help an estate executor fulfill final wishes and distribute the property as designed. This document also informs family members of the contents of the estate and an asset’s location. These documents will contain a comprehensive list of all assets, contact information for the insurance and financial professionals knowledgeable about the estate, login information for relevant accounts, and a letter addressing all nonfinancial assets like family heirlooms.
- Hold a family meeting: After the first two steps, parents can hold a family meeting to talk to their children. This meeting can cover several topics to prepare a family for the legal process of death. Parents can use this meeting to outline the intent of their estate plan, identify the location of important estate documents, introduce the executor, and discuss family heirlooms. Children can ask questions, voice their concerns and perhaps offer suggestions for changes or additions.
Consult with an attorney for more information
Parents worried about how their siblings will handle the estate after their death can reach out to a local lawyer familiar with Texas estate planning laws. An attorney can help draft comprehensive legal documents, work with the probate courts and even serve as an executor.