As with most things in life, communication is said to be the key to good
estate administration in New York and elsewhere. That starts with the
individual who is planning how his or her estate will be distributed.
Studies show that less than one third of all individuals have discussed
their estate plan with their children. Most professionals involved in the
estate administration process recommend that family members be included in the planning.
Some people are concerned that certain family relationships will hinder
the process. In that event, professionals still suggest that loved ones
be made aware of the estate plan once it is in place. One important reason
is that persons appointed to act as a trustee, executor or other fiduciary
may not want to serve in the capacity indicated. It is far better to know
that before finalizing plans. The general consensus is that it is best
to make everyone, including beneficiaries, aware of their role and any
expectations concerning their involvement in the estate administration process.
Lingering family disputes are said to best be confronted during estate
planning to avoid a long festering disagreement from exploding into unnecessary
and expensive estate litigation. It is far better to work to diffuse arguments
than to allow them to continue to grow to a point of no return. Many believe
that time taken to explain to loved ones why certain provisions were made
may reduce conflict later. In cases where no conflicts over inheritance
issues arose, 63 percent said they knew of the estate plan beforehand,
and over 80 percent believed they were treated fairly.
It is also felt that these family issues should be disclosed to the estate
planning professional charged with ensuring the individual's intentions
are honored and effectuated. A New York attorney devoted to helping individuals
and families create meaningful estate plans free from conflict may help
devise a plan to accomplish the goals. It may well be that the best course
of action is to include the attorney in family discussions to help communicate
what is intended and how it will be accomplished.
Source: The Yuma Sun, " Disclosure avoids disputes," Larry Deason, Oct. 3, 2011