One challenge New York residents may face when they are creating an estate plan is that it could lead to family conflict. In particular, there may be conflict among adult children. This could be over what to do with property or because of poor communication between siblings. There are steps parents can take to reduce the likelihood of this happening.
The first step is choosing the right estate planning attorney. Other financial professionals might be able to make recommendations. Next, there should be a clear inventory list in addition to the estate planning documents. This makes the job of the executor, including communication with beneficiaries, easier to carry out. An inventory list should include a list of all assets, insurance policies and debts as well as a list of beneficiaries for each one. It should also include any necessary passwords to access websites. The person may also want to include a legacy letter that addresses further information or values the parent wants to communicate to the children.
Finally, parents can review all the points of the estate plan in a family meeting. This can include explaining the basics of the plan, ensuring that someone knows where critical documents are, explaining who will take various roles in the plan and talking about other values. Parents could stress how they hope there will not be conflict.
Parents may also want to discuss any potential issues with an attorney, who may have suggestions on how to solve them. For example, if parents are worried that one or more of their children may be irresponsible with their inheritance, they may want to create trusts that only allow distributions at certain milestones or at the discretion of the trustee. There might be other tools that could be useful as well, such as a no contest clause to discourage a will challenge.