Thinking ahead to avoid estate litigation

Generally speaking, estate holders wish to pass along wealth and happiness to their heirs. However, as some British Columbia residents already know, this process can be rife with challenges, depending on the specifics of an estate plan as it pertains to the holder's particular family. In order to avoid future estate litigation, it is a good idea to think critically about how to disseminate one's wealth after death. 

Of course, it is worth noting that one of the easiest ways to avoid issues with an estate plan is to pass down wealth while the estate holder is still alive. While this means relinquishing control over the asset or assets to be transferred, some people take joy from seeing the fruits of their labour enjoyed by the younger generation. However, whether the wealth is distributed before or after death, there are some things to consider. 

For one, any asset devised through an estate plan could become marital property if the heir is married and then seeks divorce. If the wealth is inherited during the marriage, in some circumstances -- such as commingling of assets -- it could be subject to equal division between the beneficiary and his or her soon-to-be-former spouse. In other cases, the spending habits of the heir may need to be considered -- as would be the case with a spendthrift child who may squander an inheritance on poor financial decisions. 

Ultimately, what happens to accrued wealth is up to the estate holder, provided he or she has done the paperwork necessary to ensure last wishes are observed. For British Columbia residents wishing to avoid estate litigation after their deaths, it may be helpful to seek the support of an experienced estate attorney in drafting these documents. In this way, the estate holder and their beneficiaries will have a concrete plan to stick to once the holder has passed on. 

Source: princegeorgecitizen.com, "Things to know before giving away your wealth", Mark Ryan, Feb. 15, 2017

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