How to handle estate planning with alienated family members

How to handle estate planning with alienated family members

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2023 | Estate Planning

In a perfect world, all family members would get along well. As New York residents know, peaceful familial relationships aren’t always possible. Whether they’re your parents, siblings or children, people stop talking to their families for many reasons. Besides complicating your life, arguments and fighting with family can also complicate estate planning.

Estate planning with family struggles

You have two choices while handling estate planning matters with an estranged family member. Your first choice is not to include this person as a beneficiary or leave them with fewer assets than other beneficiaries. While this option might involve the least conflict, this situation isn’t advisable.

Not leaving assets behind to a child or sibling without telling them can lead to troublesome situations. Some ousted beneficiaries might take your estate or other family members to court, believing there’s a mistake where one doesn’t exist. Angry beneficiaries may claim other siblings falsely influenced your estate plan’s final decisions. These situations can often spiral into full-scale fallout between families.

Your second option is to talk to the alienated family member before finalizing your estate plan. It can be nerve-wracking to think about speaking to family you haven’t talked to in a long time. But now could be the last chance you and your relatives have to straighten things out.

If this conversation goes well, you may want to include them in your estate plan. Even when these discussions end badly, you have the peace of mind you tried to set things right.

Getting your estate plan in order now spares your beneficiaries a lot of confusion. Whether you have estranged family members or not, having an estate plan prevents your beneficiaries from the sometimes money and time-consuming probate process.

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