When Washington residents are setting up their estates, they’re making careful choices about who their beneficiaries will be and how their estate will pay out once they’re gone. They want to make sure that their loved ones are well taken care of when they’re no longer here.
In the best-case scenarios, setting up an estate is pretty straightforward. Estate plans play out as instructed, and the estate itself is relatively easy to run. Things become a lot more difficult when difficult heirs enter the picture.
What constitutes a difficult heir?
Difficult heirs can be anyone from the wayward child who’s struggled with emotional issues for years to heirs who believe that they should get much more money than they’re receiving. These heirs can make things extremely difficult for the testator (you), other beneficiaries, the trustee, and anyone else involved in handling the will.
What are some things that you should keep in mind as you deal with difficult heirs?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when dealing with a difficult heir during the estate planning process is that you should remember that you always have the ability to change your asset distribution. You may have decided to give one heir a specific amount of money years prior. If their or your circumstances have changed, you can always alter your estate plan to reflect your current circumstances or feelings.
If you’re worried about a certain heir or beneficiary running through their money once you’re gone, you can create an estate plan that has a staggered distribution schedule. This way, assets and funds get released over a period of years or however you deem fit. You can also set it up so that funds are released to your beneficiaries once they reach certain milestones in their lives. This could include everything from graduating from college to completing rehabilitation programs.
Who can people turn to if they need help figuring out their estate plans?
People who have questions or need help figuring out their estate plans may benefit by working with attorneys who have experience handling different types of estate plans and wills.