The larger your estate and the larger your family, the more likely your asset distribution plan will end up in dispute after your death. For this reason, Florida residents with significant assets and diverse families should build a water tight estate plan — one that doesn’t leave any room for family disagreements to get in the way.
Disagreements about estate distribution can destroy the continuity of a family, and in many cases, these families never fully recover. Examples of situations like this can be seen in the aftermath that followed numerous celebrity deaths. One of the most recent was the death of Alan Thicke.
Alan Thicke’s estate fell into dispute over disagreements between heirs
Alan Thicke passed away in 2016 after his aorta ruptured. He named his two children, Robin and Brennan, as co-trustees of his estate. However, Thicke’s widow, Tayna Callau, has said that the two brothers were recklessly spending their father’s trust money while withholding her rightful share. In a recent statement, Callau’s lawyer said it was unconscionable that Thicke’s widow still hasn’t received her part of her late husband’s estate.
Part of Callau’s complaints have involved the fact that Thicke’s widow did not receive a reimbursement from the estate for the money she spent to build a burial site monument, but Robin Thicke received a reimbursement of $105,000 for the money he spent on a memorial party. As of the date of this blog post, the family is still litigating their disagreements.
It’s difficult to predict how your heirs will treat one another
No matter how respectfully your family members treat one another, there’s no way to know for sure what will happen when they’re experiencing the emotional turmoil associated with your passing. One way to limit the likelihood of disagreements is to create an extremely clear estate plan that covers all of your assets and heirs in detail. You may also want to discuss your plans with your heirs before you pass away so that everyone is on the same page and completely understands your intentions.
Naming a neutral, third-party professional as your trustee or executor will also help. A neutral party – like an estate planning lawyer, accountant or bank representative – will not have any incentive to depart from your estate plan, and they could face stiff legal consequences and be financially accountable if they choose to do so. Explore your options thoroughly and choose the most appropriate estate planning strategies for you and your family.