Family relationships can be complex and not every family gets along. While you love your heirs, you’re pretty sure that they’re going to end up in a battle over your estate after you’re gone.
Is there anything you can do to stop that from happening? Absolutely. While you can’t force your adult children to get along or your brother and sister to be civil to each other, you can take steps to minimize the conflicts over your estate and preserve both the family peace and your legacy.
What options do you have?
There are many different ways to keep your heirs from squabbling over your assets, but here are some of the top choices:
- Transfer on death deeds (TOD deeds): TODs are relatively new in California, so you may not have even heard of them before. In essence, these allow you to immediately transfer real property (like the family home) to another person upon your death. Since this automatically happens and bypasses your estate, it isn’t easy to overcome.
- Payable on death designations: Similar to a TOD, some assets can be listed as “payable on death” to whomever you choose, in whatever portions you desire. This typically includes checking accounts, savings accounts and investments. Again, this bypasses your entire estate, which means that it’s very difficult to challenge.
- Irrevocable trusts: You can set up your estate so that everything you own goes into a trust for the benefit of your heirs as you see fit — and those are much harder to break than any will.
Are these your only options to keep your estate plans on track despite the strained family dynamics? No. There are many different ways to customize an estate plan to your needs. You owe it to yourself and your heirs to learn more.