There are many different estate planning challenges that may not be apparent until after a loved one has passed away. For example, a sibling who feels as though they have been excluded or treated unfairly in the assignment of assets may argue that another child unduly influenced the parents to alter estate plans. In order to avoid this perception but also to help your adult parents with the estate planning process, you can take a couple of important steps.
Most people want to avoid estate litigation over a family member’s will. If a relative believes that you forced your parents to create a trust or will to increase your own inheritance, they may pursue a line of legal action known as undue influence. If they are successful in arguing this, a court can declare that the will is void, if they believe that you in any way coerced the parent into writing a will that would benefit you.
Care partners and caregivers should always have a direct conversation about the benefits of creating an estate planning, but a caregiver who is also a future beneficiary of that same estate needs to understand the definition of undue influence. Make sure that your parents have the opportunity to speak directly with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.
The attorney should make a point of meeting separately with your parents before or on the day of their appointment, so they have their own opportunity to speak with the lawyer. This gives your parents a chance to speak confidentially as well. If unequal inheritances are left behind, a letter of intent can help to explain the intention behind this. For further questions about establishing an estate plan and working directly with an estate planning attorney to accomplish it, set up a time to meet with a Newton, MA and Mashpee, MA estate planning lawyer today.