When it comes to estate planning, there are many motivations that can spur one into embarking on the journey of arranging how you want your estate to be managed and disposed of upon incapacity or death.
If your main objective in estate planning is to ensure that the ones you love will be well taken care of, the last thing you want is a family conflict arising because of your estate plan.
Here are some tips that will help prevent any family disputes that might surface because of your estate plan:
Ensure That Your Estate Plan Is Valid and Up-to-Date
The validity of one’s will is often a common point of contention amongst disgruntled family members, thus it is crucial to ensure that all the legally binding documents within your estate plan, such as your will, Lasting Power of Attorney and/or your business succession plan if you are a business owner, are created in line with local law requirements.
Aside from validity, making sure that your estate plan is maintained in a way which addresses all of your latest major assets as well as persons is important to prevent disputes that might arise from assets and people that have been unaccounted for. Your assets and liabilities should be documented through a Schedule of Assets which is a supporting document that is attached with your Last Will and Testament. Whereas to update or change your will to include or remove persons or to reflect circumstantial changes, you can either rewrite a new will or make a codicil.
Ensure That You Appoint a Responsible Executor
Your executor must have the capacity and the willingness to carry out your wishes responsibly. Placing this fiduciary obligation into the hands of someone who is not up to the task could be one of the biggest will-writing mistakes that could end up in ugly court battles that take away precious time and money that could have been for better use for your beneficiaries.In the event that you are unable to find an executor for your will, you can consider appointing a professional probate lawyer to take on the task.
Have an Open and Honest Conversation With Your Loved Ones
While you have full autonomy of how you want to dispose of your estate, it is beneficial to have a chat with your family members to inform them of your intentions and plans when it comes to your estate so that you avoid any instances of the misunderstanding or misinterpreting of your actions.
However, if it is not possible to do so, you can consider including a Letter of Wishes with your will and/or trust(s), which you can arrange to be shared with your beneficiaries to ensure that your intentions towards what you have laid out in your estate plan are understood.
Do You Need a Lawyer To Make an Estate Plan?
Considering that you are reading up on tips to ease family estate planning disputes, you must have already set your mind to getting your estate plan in order so as to avoid dying without a will so as to not leave your assets to be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act.
While you do not need a lawyer to do so, the process to crafting an estate plan or making a will in Singapore can be daunting for a person with no prior knowledge in this field thus it is recommended to engage professional help to ensure that you avoid common mistakes when writing a will so that the chances of its validity being contested are decreased thereby avoiding possible disputes that may arise.If you are planning to write a will and require the service of an estate planning lawyer, or have any questions about will writing in Singapore and require professional estate planning assistance, feel free to get in touch with us.