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Sibling rivalries can upend estate planning in California

After losing a loved one, it is important for a family to be there for each other in order to provide emotional support. However, without a proper estate plan in place, family members may end up being confused as to who should inherit which assets. Therefore, it is best for individuals in California to not procrastinate in starting the estate planning process.

According to some estate planning professionals, most people who fight over an estate will find it to be a financially detrimental endeavor. This is due to the unnecessary litigation in probate court which can be costly. Many times these costs end up eating away a large portion of the inheritance, which is probably not how one would want his or her estate assets to be distributed.

However, it is also important to discuss one's estate administration plans with loved ones while one is still alive. This can be especially important for those with more than one child, since assets are usually divided between the siblings. Sibling rivalries can become an issue if a will or trust distributes assets unevenly between siblings. Many times the surprise of finding out that assets are being distributed unevenly can result in siblings dealing with their hurt feelings in court.

Therefore, estate planning is not just about the legal documents in California. It is also about communication and being straightforward with one's family and loved ones. On the other hand, without the properly crafted legal instruments, one's estate plan can be easily challenged in probate court. This can result in intended beneficiaries being deprived of some or all of their inheritance.

Source:, "Here Are the Worst Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Make", Jason Notte, July 13, 2015

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