The WSJ has this helpful article with tips on how to prevent estate disputes. Among their tips:
(1) talk with your family,
(2) write a memorandum,
(3) unequal treatment after death means family discord,
(4) hire a professional executor, and
(5) share your values.
In my practice, I’ve seen each of these techniques work well for individuals or families doing estate planning. I’ve also worked on numerous estate and/or trust litigation cases where major disputes arose because people didn’t communicate (and the only winners in estate or trust litigation are the lawyers who get paid by the hour to go to court). Kansas and Missouri law both include provisions for incorporating a written memorandum into your will or trust (a/k/a a separate personal property list) – see K.S.A. 59-623 and V.A.M.S. 474.333 – and I encourage all my clients to make a written memorandum at their convenience to supplement their will’s instructions to their executor and/or their trust’s directions to their trustee.
My firm has experience working with individuals and families throughout the business and estate planning processes. I’ve enjoyed working with clients ranging from single young professionals who want to plan for the future to business owners with complex trusts and tens of millions in assets. If my law firm can help you or your family with your estate planning, elder law, asset protection, business law needs, or digital estate planning, call me (913-707-9220) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free, convenient appointment.
(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.