The overall goal of having an estate plan is to prevent lawsuits from happening. You don’t want your estate held up in court for years while people fight over who gets your home, car, pet, and beloved collection of pewter teapots. Even your own children might fight over your estate after you fill out a legally valid estate plan. In today’s blog from Davidson Law Group, we outline how to lawsuit-proof your estate plan.
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Create a Trust Instead
Estate planning is more than just a will. Wills only take effect when you pass away. A trust gives you control over who gets your assets while you’re still alive. The key here is who manages your assets. Do you have extra income or property you can give to your relatives? A living trust names a trustee or group of trustees who run this part of your estate. This keeps your estate plan out of probate court entirely because the trustee controls the distribution of your wealth. Make absolutely certain the trustee is someone who is knowledgeable, capable, and trustworthy.
Treat Your Heirs Equally
The major squabbling point with an inheritance is that one child gets more than the other. Get rid of this sticking point by treating all of your children equally, regardless of how you feel about them. If you have three kids, split your inheritance three ways. Suppose you want to leave some of your estate to your grandchildren. You have two kids and four grandkids. This means you split your inheritance six ways.
Include a “No Contest” Clause
Texas enforces a “no contest” clause in a will. This means that you can designate that if anyone contests your will, they forfeit their portion of the inheritance. The only way someone can contest this in court is if a person feels you came under the influence of a person who convinced you to change your will.
Talk to Your Family
The best thing you can do for estate planning is to talk to your family. Explain your intentions, your decisions, and your goals. Discuss your options, who should get what sentimental items, and why you made certain medical directives. You could even write a letter, called a letter of instruction, letting your family know why you created your comprehensive estate plan in the first place.
Davidson Law Group: Here for You
The attorneys at Davidson Law Group are knowledgeable about all of the complexities of estate planning. We’ll help determine the best course of action based on your individual situation. Contact our law firm today in Fort Worth, Allen, or Tyler.