Failing to keep estate plans up-to-date may invite a will contest

Having no estate plan in place is certainly a risk. However, a recent article illustrates why failing to keep an estate plan up-to-date or resolve lingering disputes over its contents may be just as problematic.

According to a recent report, almost 20 percent of families who participated in a survey admitted to having disagreements over the role that children should play in their aging parents’ retirement and eldercare needs, as well as estate planning. When parents are in good health, such disagreements may not need to be resolved. When a medical or financial emergency arises, however, a dispute could leave loves ones in a gridlock.

One potential area of disagreement is over the named executor of an estate. Traditional approaches may have designated the oldest child with the role. However, other considerations may warrant more creative approaches. For example, it is possible to designate co-executors, although increasing the number of decision-makers may also increase the risk of divided votes.

Care should also be taken regarding the nature of any conversations about estate planning and elder care needs. For example, over two-thirds of parents surveyed in the study claimed that they had conducted such discussions with their children. Yet around half of those children did not remember, claiming that the subject had never been raised.

Although it may seem elementary, one of the key benefits of a consultation with an estate planning firm is the accountability and record keeping such meetings typically entail. An attorney can raise issues that may be easily overlooked, serve as a common reference for questions, and also act as a facilitator for future conversations.

Source: Time, “Here’s What Your Aging Parents Say They Want You to Do for Them,“ Kerri Anne Renzulli, June 28, 2016


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