There's more to estate planning than a will. While an easy document could have been sufficient for past generations, the modern man or woman has to keep an eye on in the estate planning process, should they be to stop many years of legal dispute and infighting among their heirs and beneficiaries.
There are numerous trends which factor into this shift towards increased conflict in probate matters. Not every they're recent, but their combined effects are undoubtedly being felt more in the current era than at any other period in history.
A Change in "Family" Values
One of these brilliant factors is the loosening of the traditional nuclear family. Stuff that was once taboo - divorce, children born beyond wedlock - are now commonplace, or even universally accepted. Consequently, family relationships have become increasingly complicated and strained. When individuals divorce and remarry, they essentially broker a "merger" between two independent family units with different backgrounds and interests. The matter becomes even more unclear when illegitimate children born of affairs or failed relationships are thrown to the mix. Add to that the decline with the admittedly unequal but simple system of primogeniture, and it's also easy to see how disputes over inheritances could arise beyond such a situation.
For an individual enthusiastic about estate planning, a tangled web of relationships can be a daunting obstacle to conquer. Precisely what is someone to do? Would it be moral to favor an illegitimate child on the legitimate one? Should the kids of a primary marriage receive precedence in the children of subsequent unions? I have listed some examples in the thorny questions that must definitely be answered by an effective estate plan. Unfortunately, regardless if carried out with the very best intentions, the allocation of these assets for this heir or any particular one often brings about hurt feelings and bitter legal disputes over objects of little monetary but great sentimental value.
The amount of money Factor
In recent decades, society all together is promoting an even more money-centric mentality. With all the introduction of conveniences such as cards, online shopping, and other methods to spend without immediate repercussions, individuals are very likely to finish up in debt or at least in financial troubles. Consequently, current generations also tend to have less savings and less financial security than those before. While disjointed family relationships may take into account disputes over sentimental items, the modern money-oriented attitude may lie at the heart of disputes over assets with higher economic value.
As a result of emphasis that modern males and females put on money and monetary worth, someone enthusiastic about estate planning will need to take careful stock of her or his assets. Although this may not be able to avoid conflict down the road, it will at least push away any misunderstandings determined by inaccurate or unclear knowledge of one's own property.