J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Attorney and CPA

Increasing numbers of disputes over wills and inheritances

As Florida families accumulate greater wealth and assets, it becomes more important for individuals to create a plan for what will happen to those assets at their deaths. Failure to draft a will or provide for its proper execution can result in family conflicts that can destroy relationships and keep people tied up in court battles for years.

According to a study by MetLife, a large amount of money will be inherited by baby boomers from their parents upon the parents' death. The median amount of wealth that will be transferred is $64,000. As this money passes down to the next generation, unfortunately more and more people are battling over the money and the inheritances received. Many legal and financial professionals have seen an uptick in the number of adult children who are willing to sue their siblings or other relatives over inheritance disputes. The majority of disputes tend to relate to will disputes, trusts and the care of parents.

Many people avoid drafting a will because it is unpleasant to plan for one's death. However, drafting a solid will and planning for the will execution is important for people who want to ensure that their wishes are carried out after they are gone and who want to prevent conflicts and disputes among family members. By discussing their personal wishes with an experienced attorney, people are able to make important decisions about the passing of their assets before they suffer from diminished capacity. In addition, people are able to become informed about the different options that may be available to accomplish their goals.

When people attempt to draft their own wills, problems can arise in the execution. A mistake in the drafting of a will can prevent a person's wishes from being carried out and can delay the probate process. This not only increases the cost to beneficiaries but can increase the likelihood of disputes during will execution if the provisions of the will are unclear.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, "Inheritance conflicts pit relatives against one another," Tim Grant, July 4, 2014

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