Anyone would think that being the beneficiary of an estate would be an unmitigated positive. Unfortunately, it can be a mixed blessing. Complications can arise that will make you wonder if it is even worth it. Knowing what to watch out for can help as you navigate the inheritance process. It can also help you decide now to pay it forward and plan better for your own estate.
Fights With Siblings
Any estate lawyer can tell you that even the closest families can fall apart over an estate. This is especially true if the will isn’t clear or, even worse, there is no will. You can improve your family’s chances of a peaceful transition with careful planning. Review your estate plan regularly with your estate lawyer. They can help you see any gaps in your will or trust. Additionally, clearly communicate your wishes with your family before your passing.
If you are one of several beneficiaries, you can lead the way through a smooth transition. Fights often occur over smaller, sentimental items that aren’t included in the will. Using a lottery system might help with these items. On the other hand, liquidating everything and dividing the assets might work better for some people. A mediator can help as well.
When a person passes and there is no surviving spouse, their estate goes into probate court. This is the legal process by which a deceased person’s estate is managed. If you need to work things out in probate court, you’re in for months or even years. Furthermore, probate court comes with some hefty fees.
If you are the executor or court-appointed administrator you will have some heavy responsibilities. It is your job to inform all beneficiaries of the passing, manage the estate, and maintain any real estate. You can avoid probate by putting your assets into a trust.
Deciding What to Do with Real Estate
It can be difficult to decide what to do with real estate, especially when there are multiple beneficiaries. You have to choose between selling the property and dividing the proceeds, renting it out, and living in it. Hardest of all, you all have to agree on what to do. This can be difficult if opinions are strong and divided.
Even beyond the emotional toll of losing a loved one, inheritance can be a major headache. The key takeaway from your personal experience should be the determination to be meticulous about your own estate planning so that your kids don’t have to go through the same difficulties. In the meantime, try to remember that nothing is worth losing family relationships.
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