One purpose for setting up an estate plan is to have the security and peace of mind that comes with knowing your property will be distributed according to your wishes after you die. You hope that having a will or other estate planning documents will prevent your children from fighting over who gets what.
However, sibling disagreements are not uncommon after a parent dies. These disputes rarely have a happy ending, and usually only result in an expensive and time-consuming legal battle.
There are several things you can do to help reduce the chance of your children fighting over your estate after you are gone.
Have a detailed will
Make sure the terms of your will are clear, with both major and minor assets. You might think your children will fight over only major assets, such as your house, but many sibling disputes are over small items, like who gets the nice set of dishes.
In addition to including the terms in your will, when it comes to minor items, consider giving them away during your lifetime. This will reduce the number of items in your estate, and the smaller your estate, the less likely there is to be a dispute.
Handling a disinherited child
You may decide to leave one child out of your will, and this is fine. You are legally allowed to do this but talk with the child beforehand and tell them about it.
This will likely be a difficult conversation that you do not want to have, but it will go a long way toward preventing a future will contest.
Choose a non-child executor
As part of your estate planning, you will appoint an executor to administer your estate in Indiana probate court and distribute property to your heirs. If possible, choose an executor who is not one of your children.
Appointing a third-party executor with no personal interest in the property division can help avoid conflict.
There is no way to predict the future and guarantee that no sibling disputes will arise, but these ideas can decrease the chance of disagreements.