Fights over parental estates happen. In fact, this is becoming pretty common in New Jersey and elsewhere. There are things parents can do when preparing their estate plans to help their children avoid going through estate litigation. There are also things siblings can do to prevent drama and get through the estate administration process as quickly and pain-free as possible.
For parents, the contents of one’s estate plan can make all the difference. To help avoid litigation, one’s wishes should be clearly spelled out, so there is no mistaking what one wants for his or her children. Parents know their children best. They will know if any of them should be named executor or trustee, if assets should be divided or liquidated, or if the time should be taken to ensure property is jointly owned or beneficiaries to specific accounts are named so that assets go directly to the intended party, rather than having to go through the probate process.
For siblings, sometimes drama seems unavoidable. At the end of the day, what happens during the estate administration process, and how siblings choose to react, is all about choice. Siblings can choose to fight about every little thing, or they can:
- Mediate any issues that arise
- Name an independent fiduciary
- Find a way to divide assets that feels fair to everyone
Closing out a loved one’s estate, whether in New Jersey or elsewhere, is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Preventing drama during the estate administration process is often possible, though some people may find it is unavoidable. If the latter is true for one’s situation, an experienced estate litigation attorney can help one close out his or her parent’s estate as swiftly and drama-free as possible.