Estate Planning | How to Avoid Family Conflict with Estate Planning

Estate Planning | Few things create as much chaos in a family as someone becoming seriously ill, incapacitated or die unexpectedly. Did Mom want to be put on life-support machines or not? Which son or daughter should make healthcare decisions when Dad’s dementia makes him unable to care for himself? Who gets the house when Mom and Dad are gone?

We’d like to think everyone rallies together and strives to work it out. But more often than not, the lack of direction creates confusion, conflict and downright bitterness. Much of this can be avoided when everyone has a comprehensive estate plan to consult.

End of life issues do not make for comfortable dinner table talk, but discussing, and putting into writing, your wishes will make things easier on everyone down the road. An estate planning attorney is skilled at bringing the important issues out into the open. He or she will ask the right questions and offer up options on how best to handle certain situations.

Healthcare Directives and Living Will

Let’s say you’ve been in a serious car accident. Would you want to be kept alive by artificial means? How would anyone know what you would choose? A living will spell out your wishes on such matters, so there is no doubt. This important document gives family members and doctors a guideline to follow.  

Healthcare directives allow you to name a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. In the event a court someday needs to choose a guardian to handle your affairs, you can name someone ahead of time.

Establish Power of Attorney

Power of attorney documents are the most sought-after legal documents at an elder law attorney’s office. A power of attorney authorizes one person (the agent) to conduct personal business for another person (the principal). The powers that the principal grants could be broad, such as handling all of someone’s financial affairs in the event the principal is unable to do so. Or those powers could be narrow, such as simply signing documents at the closing of a real estate transaction on the principal’s behalf. These documents are somewhat temporary.

A durable power of attorney remains in effect should you become incapacitated. This is a very powerful document, so using an estate planning attorney is highly recommended.

Create a Will

One of the most important pieces of a good estate plan is the last will and testament. This document spells out who is in charge of your estate, what goes in the estate, and to whom and when those distributions are made. The will can also spell out how you want your remains to be disposed of, and who should care for your children if they are minors.

Talk to Your Family

So often, people don’t want to talk about their estate because it brings up the unpleasantness of dying. However, being open with your loved ones will ensure that everybody is on the same page and has a thorough of an understanding of your final wishes. It can certainly help reduce the chances of nasty family disputes.

Seasoned advice

Michelangelo Mortellaro has been serving the needs of the families in the Tampa area for a decade. He wants to see families through difficult times with less stress and conflict. Schedule a free consultation with his office and get your estate plan in order today.