An inheritance refers to the assets a person leaves to someone else when they die. However, even the best-laid legacy could be compromised by unexpected disagreements among heirs. Sibling rivalries can easily devastate an estate, depriving beneficiaries of their chance to celebrate a parent’s love, life, and labor.
The Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc. has spent decades helping California families avert family squabbles and preserve the testator’s intended legacy. Our experienced team of Los Angeles and Orange County estate planning attorneys can help you or a loved one create an estate plan that helps deter conflict and keeps your assets safe from unfair challenges.
Few families expect to feud over the terms of an inheritance. However, after a parent’s passing, it’s common for siblings to fight over the rights to a profitable property or prized possession.
Common triggers for estate contests include the following:
- A last will and testament contains ambiguous or otherwise unclear language.
- An heir feels they were unfairly disinherited.
- The surviving children cannot agree to the division of household items and assets of sentimental value.
Many of these disagreements are motivated more by sentimental attachment than any sense of animosity toward siblings. However, estate challenges can prove expensive, and they can deprive other heirs of their deserved inheritances.
Preventing Estate Disputes
Even if you are confident that your will is clear and specific, you may need to take additional steps to protect the sanctity of your estate. The Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc. could help you explore the advantages of:
Giving lifetime gifts can help curb the potential for probate contests while offering significant tax advantages.
An Impartial Executor
Most California parents appoint a spouse or an adult child as executor of their estate. However, acting as executor amidst grief can cloud an estate representative’s judgment, making it more difficult for them to fulfill their fiduciary duty and make reasonable decisions.
An estate planning attorney could help you assess your options or even assume the responsibility in place of a relative.
A Letter of Instruction
A letter of instruction is a non-binding addendum to an existing will. It can clarify inheritance-related decisions, making it easier for heirs to understand the logic underlying your estate plan.
A Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a legal entity that can receive assets and is usually managed by you. Trusts help minimize estate taxes and can keep estate assets out of probate. Disbursements can be conditioned and could even include special provisions requiring that heirs agree to the trust’s terms before receiving their inheritance.