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Preventing rivalry during estate administration and probate

After making end-of-life and estate plans, many people in Michigan feel satisfied that they have done something positive for their heirs. While children may appreciate when their parents think ahead on these matters, things may not go as smoothly as the parents had hoped during estate administration and probate. If parents have chosen to divide their wealth unevenly among their children, unhappy siblings may decide to challenge the will.

Children may contest a will if they feel one sibling unduly influenced the parents' decisions about asset division. This may occur if the parents leave a larger sum to one child who has been more helpful to them in their old age or who has not been as financially successful as the other siblings. While parents may think they are being just in their distribution, children who interpret the gesture as favoritism may be hurt or angry.

Estate planning advisors recommend that parents do not keep their plans secret from their children. Having candid conversations about their intentions and plans may stave off contests and litigation that could potentially damage the sibling relationships forever. When a person is forthcoming about the contents and goals of a will, children will not be shocked or confused by any disproportionate allotment, and the proceedings may go more smoothly and genially.

Working with a Michigan attorney to draft a will ensures that it is properly prepared and executed. An attorney will guide parents in choosing a personal representative to distribute their assets and work closely with them to organize documentation of assets and designate beneficiaries. With careful planning and experienced counsel, parents can rest assured that estate administration and probate will not create animosity among their children.

Source: metrowestdailynews.com, "Sibling rivalry in probate disputes", Patricia L. Davidson, Accessed on Jan. 27, 2017

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