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Drafting estate planning documents to avoid family disputes

A well-developed estate plan provides peace of mind and reduces the risk of family disputes. Sometimes, only a simple will is needed to dispose of estate assets. In other cases, however, the estate plan might include trusts, powers of attorney, life insurance policies or other planning instruments. People in New York should keep a few things in mind as they approach their estate plans.

Among the most important parts of a will is the naming of the executor. It is not uncommon in family disputes for heirs to believe that the executor is stealing from the estate. That's why it's important to choose someone who is trustworthy and fit to handle the job. When it comes to choosing an executor, consideration of the skills required is better than choosing based on family dynamics, gender, age or relationship specifics.

The will should also address who'll get personal property that may have sentimental value. Lots of family disputes arise because of small items like a childhood book or a piece of costume jewelry. A person who is making a will should have a conversation with their heirs to determine which pieces of personal property will go to which heir. A provision can be included in the will directing the executor to sell any property that the heirs are fighting over.

An attorney with experience in estate planning law might be able to help a client create their will. The lawyer could draft the will so that assets are properly disposed of. A comprehensive estate plan might include trusts or other instruments to allow assets to transfer outside of probate.

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