Most Texans are aware of the importance of drawing up a will to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their plans. However, another reason why estate planning is important is because it can prevent family in-fighting. When one's wishes are not laid out in a clear and definite way, it can lead to arguments about what his or her intent was; this can cause rifts to develop in families, and litigation often follows.
Contesting a will or a trust can end up taking years because probate court does not move quickly. Even in a case where a family is simply trying to figure out what the decedent intended, it can take extended amounts of time to negotiate and agree on how assets such as a home or business are to be shared. This can leave families divided and keep people from having access to the funds that are meant for them. Additionally, legal battles are not free, and they can drain people's resources.
Proper estate planning can reduce the risk of confusion among the recipients of one's assets and prevent litigation from becoming an issue. A properly planned estate will ensure that his or her intentions are understood and followed.
An experienced lawyer may help individuals draft sound and thorough wills in order to ensure that their assets are distributed appropriately and that the wills are difficult to contest. Additionally, such a lawyer knowledgeable in estate planning may be helpful in reducing the amount of taxes owed once assets are dispersed and help heirs get the most money possible from the decedent's estate.
Source:, Times-Herald Record Online, "Protecting your future: Planning ahead can help prevent family in-fighting," Bonnie Kraham, Feb. 7, 2013