Avoiding estate litigation in the case of divorce or death

When people begin the process of planning for late life, the obvious choice of beneficiary for many people is their children, and their children's families. However, as some British Columbia residents know all too well, divorce or separation can throw a monkey wrench into those plans. In some cases, disagreements over bequeathal of assets can even lead to estate litigation. This is why it is important for estate planners and their attorneys to bear in mind the value of preparing the estate for a potential separation, either between themselves and their spouses or their adult child and a spouse, later in life.

This is particularly true in cases wherein a child passes away after having inherited part or all of the estate. It is widely considered good practice for adult children to have their own estate plans in place prior to receiving their inheritance. A child's marriage will invalidate a will unless there have been provisions made to accommodate such a marriage, and in cases where a child passes away, the estate might revert to a spouse without the say-so of the original estate holder.

If a parent wishes their assets to remain in their immediate family, very specific provisions must be made to determine who gets those assets if a child predeceases the parent. Estate planning can be very complicated in this regard, and so estate holders should consider these possibilities before committing to a plan. If a plan already exists, it can be modified with the help of an estate lawyer to account for unforeseen circumstances.

Parents usually want the very best for their children, and that can include leaving some or all of an estate to them. In British Columbia, a great deal of support exists for estate holders to seek out the advice of experienced estate lawyers in building a comprehensive and secure estate plan. This can help to protect the entire family from nasty estate litigation farther down the line.

Source: mondaq.com, "Estate Planning And Marriage Breakdown - Protecting The Inheritance", Emma Hamilton, Oct. 30, 2017

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