People put off planning their estate for many reasons. Some because they just don’t want to think about departing this world. Others may put it off because of family problems and not knowing how to implement an estate plan that addresses family issues. Divorce and blended families are becoming more common. There are other family problems in estate planning such as irreconcilable relationships, criminal convictions, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and more.
Divorce and Estate Plans
Divorcing spouses with a living trust will likely need to put a new estate plan in place after the divorce is finalized. Those going through a dissolution of marriage in California often have questions about what will happen if they or their spouse die before the finalization of the divorce. They also frequently inquire whether they can put a new plan in place leaving their soon to be ex-spouse nothing. In California, a divorcing couple is limited in their options for changing their estate plan until the process is complete.
Estate Planning for Blended Families
With divorce becoming more prevalent, people often enter new relationships and marriages with children from past relationships. This makes things complicated when the couple decides to plan their estate. How much do they leave to their children? If one spouse came to the relationship with more assets, should their children get more? People in these situations often avoid estate planning to escape a possible conflict. It is generally a better idea to work these issues out if you do not want a battle over your money after you pass away.
How to Handle Irreconcilable Relationships When Creating an Estate Plan
There are many people that have falling outs with children, siblings, spouses, and even parents. When you cannot repair the relationship with the individual, you likely do not want to them your property after you die. If you do not put an estate plan in place, they may be entitled to your property under the laws of intestate succession. You can accomplish this in a living trust or a will by specifically disinheriting named individuals.
Criminal Convictions and Inheritances
When people are convicted of crimes they are generally fined by the state. Depending on the conviction, fines may be substantial. They may also owe restitution to their victim(s). If you are leaving someone your property and they owe fines or restitution, the money you leave them may be in jeopardy. There are certain ways to hold their inheritance in trust so that it is protected from creditors. People often use these types of provisions for leaving money to people that have creditors for unpaid debts.
Drug and Alcohol Dependent Beneficiaries
Drug and alcohol abuse affects people from all walks of life. No income class is immune from drug and alcohol problems. If you have a loved one in your life that struggles with alcohol or drugs, you may not know whether to leave them your property. If you want to ensure they are taken care of and do not squander what you leave them, you can set up a special needs trust. A trustee would manage their inheritance and distribute the funds for specific things they need.
Planning your estate does not have to be a painful process. It is wise to identify and handle issues concerning estate planning as they arise. They may become more difficult to handle later on or it may be too late. If you have family problems in estate planning and you don’t know how to address them, contact an estate planning attorney.