Estate Planning Law

How to Minimize Estate Disputes Between Siblings?

It’s not unusual for disputes to come up when it comes time for your children to divide up your estate.  The disputes between your children over the assets of your estate could lead to a long and expensive court battle. To avoid many of the family estate disputes that may arise after your death, there are steps you can take now to minimize or even prevent such disagreements. 

At Doane & Doane, PA, we are passionate about giving our clients the personalized legal counsel they need to appropriately take care of many major life and death decisions, such as estate planning to minimize family estate disputes.

So, to answer your estate planning questions, we welcome you to consider contacting us at Doane & Doane, PA for estate planning advice and services.  You can contact us today at 561-656-0200 or fill out our online contact form.

Estate Planning to Help Prevent Disputes

The estate planning steps you take before your death can handle many of the possible family estate disputes that may arise between your children.  

1. Have a Will:  Your estate planning attorney can draft a will that will clearly state what property and/or assets each of your children receive. 

2. Use a Trust: Your revocable trust can be changed any time before your death. You can use the trust as a tool to specify what property each of your children receives upon your death.  

3. Hold Property Jointly: You can add your child’s name to any of your property so when you pass away, that property automatically will go to the joint title holder – your child.  For example, you can add a child’s name to a house, bank accounts, etc. This can go a long way to avoid family estate disputes when you die. 

4. Use a Neutral Executor: Instead of appointing one of your children to administer your estate after you die, consider using a trusted friend, another family member, or your estate planning attorney. 

5. Include Funeral and Burial Instructions in Your Estate Plan: You can include any funeral and burial instructions in your estate plan. You can state who you want to be in charge of your funeral, and you can express your own wishes such as whether you want to be cremated if you want a memorial service, etc. 

6. Draft a Letter of Instructions:  This document will afford you the opportunity to explain any decisions you made with regards to your estate plan, or to address any issues that may not be included in your estate plan.  

While this document isn’t legally binding, it may go a long way in avoiding any family estate disputes because you’ve explained your decisions.

7. Think About Including A No Contest Clause: A no-contest clause is a provision that can be included in your trust and/or will that disinherits a beneficiary, including one of your children if they contest your will and are not successful. 

In order for a no-contest clause to be effective, the beneficiary must have something to inherit in your will or trust that they will lose if they contest your estate plan and lose. 

8. Talk to Your Children About Your Estate Plan: While this oftentimes is a difficult discussion to have, if you explain the terms of your estate plan with your children, this gives all of you the ability to discuss your estate planning wishes and can minimize any family estate disputes after you pass away. 

9. Do Not Use Any Do-It-Yourself Documents: Many do-it-yourself documents have errors and omissions that leaves your estate open for a court battle after you pass away. It’s important that you work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure your estate plan is drawn up according to your wishes. Working with an estate planning attorney also minimizes the chances of your beneficiaries having to endure a long and expensive probate court battle. 

How You Can Divide Minor Items in Your Estate

Many family estate disputes arise out of minor items. For example, there could be an epic battle over a knick-knack that has no monetary value, but sentimental value. 

In order to avoid this, there are steps you may want to take to avoid a family estate dispute.  They include:

1. Give A Gift While You Are Living:  If you choose, you can give away certain items to your children while you are still alive. This may include pictures, jewelry, etc.  

2. Put Tags on Specific Items: Put a small tag with the person’s name in an inconspicuous spot on the items you want them to have when you pass away. These items may include pictures, books, etc., and can eliminate a family estate dispute. 

Look to Doane & Doane for Help with Estate Planning Options

Founded in 2003 by husband and wife legal team, Randell C. Doane and Rebecca G. Doane, Doane & Doane provides legal and financial services to families, individuals, and businesses throughout Southeast Florida.

Estate planning is about much more than just giving away property.  It is an act of love and kindness, with the ultimate goal of providing for the future financial security of your loved one.  At Doane & Doane, our Wills and Trusts Attorneys in West Palm Beach help people plan for retirement, make provisions for loved ones, figure out future child support, and minimize tax liability.  Experienced wills and trusts attorneys know which tools to use to get the best results for their clients.  Our lawyers can help you determine which tools are best suited to your specific circumstances.

When it comes to probate matters, such as the formal administration of an estate, Florida fiduciaries seek the assistance of the attorneys at Doane & Doane, P.A. to administer and manage their trusts and estates.  Notably, the founding partners of Doane & Doane are board-certified West Palm Beach Probate Attorneys.  With the additional advantage of certified public accountancy in their backgrounds, they present a unique combination of skills and experience which enables them to effectively settle, administer, and manage clients’ trusts and estates.

Call us at Doane & Doane, P.A., to help you if you are faced with a probate matter, or if you would like estate planning services in Florida.  You can reach us at 561-656-0200.  Call us today.

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.