How to Avoid Inheritance Disputes: 3 Expert Tips

Last Will After your death, the last thing you want is your loved ones to fight over your assets and liabilities.  The courts and anyone in the probate system also want these processes to go as smoothly as possible. Even with the best intentions, there are disputes that could arise. And, these disputes can often turn bitter – especially when the emotions of loss are driving everyone’s opinions.

There are things you can do to help lessen the likelihood that your loved ones will have drawn-out courtroom battles and bitter disputes.

Creating an Excellent, Well-Articulated Will

Having a will isn’t always enough – especially if your will is full of holes or missing critical information. Naturally, a will is better than no will at all, because leaving your heirs to figure out inheritance on their own can always lead to disaster.

What Happens if You Don’t Have a Will?

If you do not have an estate plan, the state’s laws will determine how your estate is distributed amongst your family. These intestacy laws can vary, but often involve first your marital status and then surviving children. If you did not want a certain child to inherit something, but didn’t have an estate plan dictating that, you will not be able to say much after you are deceased.

Creating a Valid Will is Important

Writing your intentions on paper and signing it isn’t enough. Instead, you need a will that is well-drafted and in accordance with the state’s laws. If your will is not valid, the courts will not honor your requests. A few things you must have present in order for your will to be valid under New York state laws include:

  • You must be at least 18 years old;
  • You must be of sound mind and body when writing the will;
  • You cannot be coerced into the will;
  • You must have had the intentions to create that estate plan;
  • You must have all assets listed and assign them to heirs;
  • You must have an estate plan that is signed, dated and witnessed.

Skipping Over Probate

Probate court is not automatically avoided with a will. Instead, your property will still go through probate where the court will then transfer property in accordance with your will. These processes are costly and lengthy – sometimes lasting anywhere from six months to a few years. Your estate planning attorney can advise you as to how you can avoid probate, such as establishing a revocable living trust or assigning death beneficiaries on specific accounts.

Create Durable Powers of Attorney and Living Wills

Inheritance disputes often come later in life, especially when an elderly loved one is no longer able to make decisions for themselves. By having living wills and durable powers of attorney already present, you can avoid these disputes regarding your estate and even your health care.

Meet With a Long Island Estate Planning Attorney to Dispute-Proof Your Plan

If you do not want your loved ones fighting over assets and decisions, meet with an attorney from the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today. We can assess your risks, assets and liabilities and help draft a will that is as dispute-proof as possible. Contact us at 516-605-0625 or fill out an online contact form to get started.

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