You may trust your family to be reasonable about how you divide your inheritance. But after you pass away, you won’t be around to prevent any fights. However, you can minimize conflict by creating an estate plan.

Estate planning is much more than just writing your will. Not only do you create a clear plan to distribute your inheritance, but you also prepare for medical care and nursing home costs. By starting early and communicating your wishes, you can prevent your family from fighting after you pass away.

Wills and trusts express your wishes for inheritance

The main issue that can cause disputes in your family is your inheritance. You will distribute your assets the way you choose for your own reasons. But if this means one child gets less than the others, or your money goes to charity, you may cause bad feelings among your children. And these emotions can lead to costly court battles where your family fights against each other, eventually draining all the money that you left for them.

By starting early with estate planning, you can minimize this conflict. When you have a plan in place, you have your wishes written down in a will or trust documents. Your family will have more difficulty fighting these legal documents since your preferences are clear.

Don’t let your family fight over your medical care

The other major part of estate planning is preparing for medical care with advance directives. Disputes can occur if you have a medical issue and can’t speak for yourself. Your family may disagree on the type of care you need or if you would want treatment at all.

To prevent this, you can create a living will and assign a health care proxy. A living will goes over possible medical situations and explains how much treatment you want to receive. And if the living will doesn’t cover a particular situation, your health care proxy can step in. Your proxy is a person you trust to make medical decisions for you.

Communication now can prevent disputes later

Making a plan early and letting your family know what that plan is can minimize potential conflict. While the documents of a will, a trust, a living will and a health care proxy make your wishes legally binding and difficult to fight, communication helps prevent future disputes. You can share your estate plan with your family while you are still around. If they disagree with your choices, you can explain your reasoning.

You don’t want your family to fight over your estate. A solid plan and communication can help you reduce the risk of conflict.