5 Ways To Avoid Estate Litigation Down The Road
You know that you need a will in order to protect your family. But, even with a will, estate litigation has the potential to quickly eat through whatever legacy you plan to leave your family. Once you are gone, you no longer have control over your estate, but there are ways to mitigate the risks. Talk to one of our Edmonton estate lawyers to learn how to protect your family, book a consultation today. Here are 5 ways to avoid estate litigation down the road in Alberta:
1. Talk To Your Family About Your Wishes
Telling your family members how you want your estate dealt with when you die can avoid many problems. Communication can help to manage everyone’s expectations. If no one is surprised or disappointed when it is time to divide your property, then litigation is less likely to occur.
It is also a good idea to tell your family who you want to be the executor of your estate. That way, if the person you want to name doesn’t intend to accept the responsibility, they can tell you ahead of time, avoiding any need for the court to assign someone else.
2. Consider Making Any Potentially Controversial Gifts During Your Lifetime
In a situation where you have spoken to your family about your intentions for your estate and they have voiced an objection to a specific gift you intend to make, there are ways to ensure that you can still distribute your estate as you want while avoiding litigation down the road. An obvious way would be to gift the item or funds to the recipient immediately, during your lifetime. Just make sure that the gift is documented in some way, so that no one else can make any claims against the gift later.
If making the gift during your lifetime is not possible or practical, there may be other legal instruments, such as a trust, that will achieve your particular objectives. Speak to your Edmonton estate lawyer about your options.
3. Understand Your Legal Obligations To Your Family
One of the most common objections to property division in a will is that it fails to meet the testator’s obligations to family members. This may be of particular concern if you have been married more than once, currently pay spousal support or child support, or have children who are still considered dependent on you. If you fail to adequately provide for a dependent family member in your will, the court can make an order for their adequate support and maintenance from your estate.
Your estate lawyer will ensure that you meet all of the obligations to family members set out in the Wills and Succession Act.
4. Leave Specific Instructions For Dealing With Sentimental Or Personal Items
Conflict between family members can be avoided by including in your will a mechanism for distributing personal property or by gifting specific items to specific family members. If you’re not sure whether there is a specific item that might cause conflict after you are gone, ask your family what items they specifically want.
5. Have A Lawyer Prepare Your Will
The best way to avoid estate litigation is to have an Edmonton estate lawyer prepare your will and ensure that you update it periodically. Your lawyer will help you avoid all the pitfalls mentioned here and more.
Contact Verhaeghe Law Office’s Edmonton Estate Lawyers Today For Legal Advice
Our Edmonton estate lawyers are prepared to assist you with estate matters. Contact us today to learn more about wills and estates and how your family could be impacted. Book a consultation or give us a call today by dialling (587) 410-2500.
*Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not intended to act as legal advice; it merely provides a general overview of the legal topic. For advice regarding your legal matter, please consult with an Edmonton estate lawyer.