McCoy Fatula, APCMcCoy
Located in Roseville, CA

Estate planning and family feuds: What do they have in common?

No two California families are exactly alike. One way in which this is evident is estate planning. While some families are comprised of very few members, others might have more than 10. However, family size is irrelevant with regard to whether an estate is one of simple means and assets or one of high net worth value.

Sadly, some families do have something in common that also has nothing to do with family size or economic status; that is, many families have been feuding for years, which often escalates when it comes time to administer estates. When family members who have fought with each other since childhood find themselves named as heirs in the same estate, they may wind up taking each other to court when their unresolved personal issues adversely affect their ability to amicably settle an estate. Sometimes, these feuds center around someone's desire for a larger share of estate assets.

Disputes over estate taxes or other liabilities might also be a central focus of a courtroom battle. Sometimes, adult children join forces to fight against an outside party, such as a caregiver who had been tending to an estate owner before death and winds up being named as a primary beneficiary. In such circumstances, there may be suspicion of duress or other foul play.

Not every California family will resort to litigation over their loved ones' estates. Many  resolve problematic issues by seeking guidance from estate planning attorneys before things get out of hand. In fact, anyone who wishes to avoid a lengthy probate process and prevent contentious situations among family members may want to retain assistance from an experienced attorney to help them find workable solutions.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Will your heirs end up in probate court?", Maryalene LaPonsie, Jan. 27, 2017

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