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3 things to do to minimize probate battles after you die

Now that your children are adults, you might expect that they would be able to handle dividing up your things and taking care of your final arrangements without a lot of conflict. This might not be the case, even if your adult children get along. Money and assets are often the sources of contention when adult children handle their parent's estate. You can take steps now to minimize the chance of a battle over your estate occurring when you die.

Create an estate plan

Your estate plan should include documents that spell out what happens to your assets when you die. It can include a will, trusts, powers of attorney, and any other document necessary to accurately make your wishes known. The ultimate goal here is to ensure that your wishes are as clear as possible so that there isn't any room for misinterpretation. When you create your estate plan, you should also name the administrator who will handle the estate when the time comes. The more planning you do now, the less guessing and arguing your children have to do after you pass away.

Talk to your adult children

Have a talk with your adult children. You can do this in a single meeting or you can meet with each of your adult children individually. Let them know exactly what your estate plan says. Discuss any points that the adult children might find difficult to deal with when you pass away. Find out if everyone has a clear understanding of your plan. This gives you a chance to answer any questions that might come up so that you can clarify these points. These discussions aren't always easy, but knowing ahead of time what to expect might make things easier when you do pass away.

Put everything in writing and keep your estate plan current

After your meeting with your adult children, put anything that you had to clarify in writing. This ensures that there is an accurate account of those clarifications when the estate is handled. At this point, you can put the estate plan away. However, plan to reevaluate it at least yearly. If you have major life circumstance changes, such as acquiring new property, having new grandchildren you want to include in the estate plan or getting a divorce later in life, you must revisit the estate plan and update it to reflect the changes.

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