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How to reduce family tension when creating an estate plan

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2023 | Estate Planning

If you want to create an estate plan that’s appropriate for you, your estate and your loved ones, you need to know how to use this customizable process to your advantage. However, if you’re like most people, you’re probably worried about how your loved ones are going to react to your estate plan, especially if you’re leaving someone out of that plan.

But you shouldn’t let your fears of the future prevent you from engaging in the estate planning that you want and need. After all, you don’t even have to tell your family who is and isn’t in your estate plan. If you allow your concerns to be driven by fear, your assets might be left with individuals who you don’t trust or that are undeserving of your support. With that said, your concerns are understandable, and there are ways to alleviate your concerns.

So, how can you maintain control over your estate without upsetting your family too much?

Although you might feel like you need to use a basic estate planning strategy to avoid ruffling feathers, you can use a variety of estate planning options to maintain control over your assets while making your intentions clear. Here are some of the legal vehicles you can use:

  • Spendthrift trust: This type of trust allows you to retain control over how assets are released so that they’re not squandered away. Here, assets are slowly released to ensure long-term viability, which can put your loved ones on notice that you have concerns about how they’ll use your assets.
  • Incentive trust: You can also make your intentions clear by using an incentive trust since you can condition the release of trust assets on the accomplishment of a specified goal. This can provide an alternative option to disinheriting someone while also sending a clear message as to what you want for your loved one’s futures.
  • Remainder trust: You can use this type of trust to support multiple individuals. For example, you can leave your estate to your spouse for the remainder of their life with the remainder of the trust’s assets then passing on to your children from another relationship. You can get creative here, too, to ensure that your intentions are clear and that you’re providing as much support to your loved ones as you want.
  • Letter of intent: Another way to portray your vision of the future and provide your justifications for your estate planning choices is to lay them out in your will through a letter of intent. Although the outcome of your estate plan may upset some, at least clearly articulating your intent can provide clarity and closure.

There may be other estate planning options that suit your needs. You simply have to educate yourself on your options so that you can implement those that are right for you and your estate plan. Neglecting to take action can just bring your greatest fears into reality.

Are you looking to create a comprehensive estate plan?

If so, you might want to discuss your vision of the future with an estate planning attorney who can advise you of your options. One of these attorneys can help guide you so that you can make the fully informed decisions that are right for you and your estate. Hopefully, you can rest assured that your family will understand why you’ve done what you’ve done while still protecting your estate assets.