If you are on the fence about creating an estate plan because you are unsure whether you need one, you might want to think about the experience your loved ones might have if you do not have one.
Because as much as an estate plan can protect your wishes, it can also protect your loved ones and help them through a difficult, painful time. When you leave behind a problematic will or no estate planning documents at all, your loved ones can experience challenges that strain – or even sever – family ties.
Bringing up old resentments
Sibling rivalry doesn’t always go away with age. And in some cases, the trauma and sadness that comes with losing a parent are enough to reignite old resentments and conflicts.
Thus, siblings and other relatives can clash when they are coping with a loss. Parties can get in fights and may start arguments to try and make things more difficult for others.
These conflicts can arise and fester when no guidelines or rules are established in an estate plan to guide parties through this process.
Battling over decisions
Loved ones may disagree with things like end-of-life care, funeral arrangements or estate distribution for a parent or other loved ones. And they can be angry about inheritances when such decisions are left up to the courts.
One person might think they know best because they were closest to the decedent, but another person may claim to have had a specific conversation regarding the decisions. Other parties might want to make the most fiscally conservative decisions, regardless of what a person might have wanted.
Further, some parties may challenge any decision that does not align with their own interests.
Having a will or estate plan that clarifies a testator’s preferences can prevent these types of conflicts from arising.
The long-term impact of these conflicts
Unfortunately, not all conflicts resolve when the estate is ultimately settled. The anger, bitterness and perceived slights a person may have experienced during estate distribution or litigation can be very difficult to overcome. And family members who were once close or cordial may no longer be because of painful legal disputes.
Individuals can prevent this by creating an estate plan that provides the crucial guidance and direction loved ones need during traumatic times.