Estate disputes are common across Australia, especially with the rise of blended families. As such, it is recommended that everyone should prepare a clear will in your lifetime so that your family does not have to go through the pain of estate disputes.
While many companies offer no win no fee agreements for will disputes to make things easier, it’s still recommended that you prepare a will that’s less likely to get challenged to save any complications further down the track.
The following are some signs that indicate your loved ones may get into an estate dispute after you’re gone:
Estate administration involves not just law but personal feelings as well. Many beneficiaries often use material gains to overcome emotional losses. However, it is believed that most conflicting parties end up in a worse scenario when they decide to proceed with an estate dispute, unless they have a skilled lawyer by their side.
In most cases these disputes can usually be anticipated. The seeds are sown years before a case reaches the court. You can predict how things will be after you’ve gone if you pay attention to the following signs:
Your Children Don’t Get Along
Sibling rivalry is a common issue that many parents tend to neglect when the children are young without realising the consequences it can have on their adult lives.
If your adult children don’t get along, they will most probably end up in a legal battle once you’re not there to look after them. In some cases, children who have had no issues in the past can also begin to argue once a parent passes away.
It’s usually due to outside circumstances and the emotional turbulence caused due to the passing of a parent. The best way to counter this is to find a reliable trustee.
There Are Several Heirs
It is common for people to get into an estate dispute when there are several heirs.
You have the option to write your property into anybody’s name – from your parents to your children to your friends. However, your heirs may not always understand it, especially if you wrote your property into the name of someone they do not like or are not directly related to.
Some names in the will often come as a surprise and can lead to issues. The best away to avoid it is to be true to all heirs and not give anyone the cold shoulder.
If You Married More Than Once
You can fall in love at any age, however if you get married again – after a divorce or the passing of your previous spouse – then expect some resentment from the other heirs.
It can get very messy if your other spouse is also named in the will. There is always the question of ‘who has a bigger right on the property’. The best option is to build a trust and to properly review your will.
Again, do not hide your relationships. If you got remarried, let your children know about your spouse and other children and how you intend to provide for them so that they don’t receive unexpected surprises when your will is revealed.
When You’re Biased Towards One Person
If you show any sort of bias towards one person, it can lead to issues later on. The bias can be in any form – more love or less love.
Many people provide financial assistance to apparent heirs in their lifetime. This can cause others to feel betrayed and develop resentment towards that one person.
The financial assistance can be for any purpose – to start a business or to buy a new home – but other heirs may not necessarily understand it. Such behaviour can strain relationships.
It is important that you mention such gifts in the trust and count such advancements on inheritance. Also, if possible, avoid giving a large share to any one party without a justified reason.
If There are Co-Trustees
It’s surprisingly common for people to have co-trustees, sometimes in order to keep things under control and sometimes because they don’t trust the expertise of one person.
Be careful when hiring co-trustees. It can cause problems later on. You should never have more than one administrator to look into the matter.
More people will lead to more issues and a higher risk of an estate dispute.
What Can You Do To Reduce The Possibility of an Estate Disputes?
While you are entitled to distribute your assets as you please, it’s important to remember that it can lead to potential disputes if it is seen to be ‘unfair’. As such the best option is to draw a will that keeps everyone happy. You can also speak to all the heirs when you draw your will up to make sure there are no surprises in store. Furthermore, when drafting your will, it’s important to consult a specialist and be clear about all the terms and clauses.