Garton & Harris

Preventing conflict over wills with support and communication

Dealing with an estate after a family member passes away can be challenging and emotional, even if everyone is getting along. British Columbia families with pre-existing tension, complicated estates or mixed opinions are particularly at risk for conflict if wills are incomplete, confusing or unexpected. For that reason, it's a good idea for people to take a few careful steps, such as prioritizing legal advice and communicating plans to help prevent friction among their beneficiaries.

The first step in any estate planning process is finding a lawyer who can be trusted and making sure he or she understands the situation at hand. Financial advisors, wealth managers and accountants can also be helpful to consult throughout this process. A full financial overview should be conducted to ensure that no assets are left unaccounted for in estate plans. This process also helps to set the executor up for a successful estate administration by centralizing all the documents one will need in the process.

Finally, it is critical to communicate plans with the family. All beneficiaries should be present at this meeting, as well as anyone implicated in the decisions. In the meeting, the basic intentions of the estate should be shared, along with who has been named as executor, the power of attorney and other involved people. This is also a good time to share one's own expectations and hopes for the inheritance process, and to ask everyone involved to communicate and be transparent when the time comes.

Advance preparation can make all the difference when preventing conflict in estate administration. Even things that seem small, like preparing an online password list, can make a big difference when the time comes. Individuals who need support drafting wills, or those who have questions and concerns about wills in which they are implicated, should reach out to a British Columbia lawyer.

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