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Is it possible to prevent estate disputes?

Throughout the course of one's life, there are bound to be many changes. From marriages and divorces, births and deaths and times of financial fortune and ruin; life is full of highs and lows and an individual would be wise to plan and adjust one's plan accordingly.

It's never too early to start taking steps to provide for one's future, the unexpected and loved ones. An attorney who handles estate planning matters can answer questions, provide advice and ensure an individual makes decisions and changes that align with and help accomplish future goals. There are times, however, when the contents of even the most comprehensive of estate plans will be called into question or disputed in court.

The loss of a loved one is a highly emotional event and one that forces all family members to cope with their own feelings of loss and grief. For some family members who may be surprised or disappointed by the contents of a loved one's will, feelings of pain and loss may manifest or be redirected.

This is often the case in estate disputes involving siblings as deep-seeded feelings of resentment and jealousy bubble to the surface and may result in a war of words or worse. Parents who plan to leave assets to their children would be wise to carefully consider their estate planning decisions and possible ramifications. Some parents chose to attempt to leave assets of equal value to children while others may disperse assets based upon their children's financial needs. Whatever the case may be, it's wise to keep children and other heirs informed of one's plans and the reasons behind such plans.

In some cases, estate disputes may include a sibling or heir who chooses to take legal action and contest a will or trust. For families dealing with these types of highly emotional and sensitive issues, an attorney who handles probate litigation matters can assist.

Source: Bankrate.com, "How to avoid a family inheritance feud," Sheryl Nance-Nash, 2015

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