Estate plans can address significant wealth. When familial tensions run high, these plans can run into conflict, with multiple parties claiming that they should have their fair share of an estate's assets. Those who are not prepared to head off these disputes can have their estates distributed in a way that is in opposition to their wishes.
This was almost the case for media mogul Summer Redstone. Redstone, who is 95, recently found himself embroiled in litigation regarding amendments he made to his trust that removed his former companion as the person in control of his healthcare directive. It also kicked her out of Redstone's mansion. The dispute started when the former companion claimed that Redstone lacked the mental capacity to make these changes. That companion has now agreed to repay more than $3 million in gifts that were given to her.
The outcome of this dispute is no small thing for Redstone. After all, his estate is worth billions. There is little doubt that his estate is complex to fit his needs, but not all estate plans need to be intricate. It really just depends on the facts at hand and how an individual wants to divide assets. However, in order to avoid conflict down the road, the legal vehicles used to distribute an estate need to be carefully and clearly created under circumstances that don't lend themselves to allegations of fraud or duress.
This is why many California residents choose to get more information about estate planning options. Doing so can help planners rest assured that their assets are as fully protected as is possible.