Not long ago this Sacramento-based estate planning legal blog discussed the somewhat difficult topic of disinheritance. Through an estate plan a person may explicitly choose to exclude a relation who otherwise may have had a clear right to receive from the individual's end-of-life estate. This challenging theme often comes up when a person would like to prevent one of their children from having a claim to their assets and wealth.
Although disinheritance may seem like a topic that could incite familial infighting, estate planning can actually be a good way to prevent conflicts between family members when a loved one has died. A clear and carefully crafted will may directly state which relations will benefit from the decedent's assets and how others should or should not benefit from the remainder.
An estate plan that is vague may not serve a decedent's planning wishes and may introduce conflict into the lives of the decedent's expected beneficiaries. Due to the decedent's inarticulate choice of terminology the decedent's children may fight over their parent's intended estate distributions or may disagree regarding what their parent may have considered fair.
While there is no way to guarantee that loved ones will avoid conflict when a relation passes on, individuals can take steps to limit the amount of conflict that their families experience by drafting and executing clear and articulate testamentary documents. An easy to follow document that abides by the requirements of the state will generally be honored by California courts; attorney Michael Sawamura is available in the New Year to help his estate planning clients reduce the ambiguity and conflict that may result from their existing estate plans.