Preventing family squabbles over your estate plan

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Fans worldwide were shocked and grief-stricken to hear of music icon, Prince’s recent death. Many were also surprised to learn that the popular singer/rock star passed away without having a legal will in place. This is not uncommon. For various reasons,people die every day without having executed a will or any type of estate plan. Many folks simply don’t like discussing their own mortality. This might not seem like an important issue compared to the sorrow of losing a loved one. However, things can quickly go awry and escalate into full-blown family wars. Arguments occur over property, assets and other matters of inheritance.

Especially in situations where a decedent was materially wealthy (like Prince) the legal process for asset distribution can be very complicated and lengthy. Probate litigation often lingers, with emotions rising and tempers flaring in the meantime. Thankfully, there seems to be no evidence of this among Prince’s siblings.

Think of your estate plan as an act of kindness

Mustering up the courage to face the reality of one’s own death and taking appropriate steps to secure an estate plan is an act of kindness. Estate planning provides for loved ones. You can also help prevent contentious situations further down the line. It is difficult to fathom siblings, spouses, step-parents and other close relatives arguing over a deceased loved one’s belongings. However, this type of dispute all too often leads to permanent breakdowns in familial relationships.

Stories abound of brothers and sisters who cease speaking to one another for decades. Their dissatisfaction regarding estate issues of a deceased parent sparks contention. Relationships between a second spouse and children of a first marriage often turn ugly, as well. This is especially true in cases where a decedent’s plan for distributing assets was left unattended.

Your plan can be simple and basic or more complex

For those of meager means, an estate plan may be simple and to the point. Other situations are very complicated and crafting a thorough estate plan may be a bit more difficult. It’s also advisable to execute advanced directives. This enables you to name someone to act on your behalf should you become incapable of doing so.

 In Prince’s case, his sister has apparently filed legal documents to open probate on behalf of her brother. The deceased superstar is said to have assets valuing more than $300 million. He was 57 years of age, unmarried, and had no children or living parents. Along with his sister, five half-siblings stand to inherit his entire estate. However, it may take some time to determine such issues in light of the fact that their brother/half-brother left no legal instructions.

Most people would want to help family members void this type of confusion and uncertainty after their own death. They can begin by talking about their final intentions and wishes, then doing what is necessary to draft a solid estate plan.

Writer Bio

Judy DudichJudy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share with others.

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