Estate Planning Lawyer
When a person sits down to start writing his or her estate plan, rarely do they imagine that their trust will go through litigation. Despite doing their very best to prevent their trust from being disputed in court, it can happen. After the creator of the trust passes away, a family member or beneficiary may become disgruntled no matter what. Here in the article below, we have listed a few tips to consider to help lessen the chances of your trust being contested in court.
Choose a Responsible Successor Trustee
If a beneficiary feels that your appointed successor trustee is not upholding his or her duties, a lawsuit may be filed. The person you choose as the successor trustee does not have to be a whiz at legalities, but they should have common sense and be able to take on such a crucial role. Before finalizing your estate plan documents, ask your proposed successor trustee if they are comfortable taking on this role after your passing. You may even want to choose a secondary successor trustee, just in case the first is not able to fulfill the position.
Communicate with Beneficiaries
Be open and honest with your beneficiaries. In most cases, the creator of an estate plan and trust chooses beneficiaries that are close family members, best friends, charitable organizations or mentors. Perhaps you want to have a conversation with your beneficiaries about what they can expect to receive after you have passed on. While it may be an uncomfortable thing to converse about, it can help prevent someone you care about being surprised later on. If a loved one feels they are not receiving the part of your legacy that means the most to them, you can have this conversation now instead of your trust going through litigation when you are no longer here.
Make Trust Instructions Clear
If the wishes you write down in your trust are not clear and concise, your assets may become disputed in court between beneficiaries. If your trust instructions are broad, your successor trustee and loved ones may have very different interpretations of what these statements mean. Make your instructions so straightforward that it leaves little room for potential negotiation. Remember, the wishes you write in your trust are to be carried out by your successor trustee after death. These are some of the very last words you may leave behind for your most cherished loved ones. During their time of grief, the last thing they may want to do is deal with a legal proceeding on top of the anguish.
When in Doubt, Hire an Attorney
For those who want a little extra help editing the final draft of their estate plan and trust, can meet with a trust attorney Sacramento, CA relies on for assistance. It is not uncommon for people to talk with a legal professional who knows about estate planning before finalizing these hugely impactful documents. Do not take this task of establishing your estate plan lightly, use as much time and as many drafts as you need to make it just right.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and trusts.