A peaceful family is a happy family. Massachusetts residents who are working on their estate plans likely know that estate planning could be a very emotional undertaking that could elicit strong opinions from family members — especially siblings. There are ways to write an estate plan that minimizes any friction or rivalry that might occur from decisions made about inheritances.
The one major issue that can cause flare-ups of negative emotions regarding parents’ estate plans is a lack of communication. When parents sit down with their adult children and talk about what their estate plans contain and to get feedback from their children, it’s less likely siblings will argue over decisions that have been made. A comprehensive estate plan — one that has had input from experts if need be — is also crucial for keeping the peace in the family.
Having an itemized rundown of important aspects of an estate plan could also make matters easier for an executor of an estate. These should include things like assets, liabilities and insurance policies, including how each is titled and who are the beneficiaries; contact information for professionals like insurance agents; usernames and passwords for digital assets; and a legacy letter outlining personal items and to whom they should go. Once these things are in place, parents should call a family meeting and let their children weigh in on their decisions.
Hiring a Massachusetts attorney experienced in estate planning may also help to keep the family peace when the time comes. A lawyer can also make sure a client has all the documents he or she needs in an estate plan and that they all meet legal requirements. A lawyer may also be able to help a client to revise an estate plan as life situations change.