Insufficient estate planning can cause family drama

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2015 | Estate Planning

When parents die without a will in Nevada, there can be a lot of confusion about who should inherit their assets. If there is a large estate, the questions over where the money should go can cause rivalries to develop between siblings. Although some parents think that talking about their last wishes with their children is sufficient, verbal communication does not take the place of an actual will.

One family in Boston was divided after a poorly planned estate caused two sisters to stop speaking to one another. In 2012, the women’s father told them that they should divide his assets when he died, but he never created a last will and testament. Because one sister was named an owner of her father’s bank account before he died, she was not legally obligated to split the proceeds with her sister after her father died, and she never did.

A lot of adult children are listed as owners on their parents’ bank accounts because it is the simplest way for parents to pass assets along. However, parents should be aware that the surviving owner of a bank account can legally keep all of the assets in the account unless another family member sues them and wins.

Most parents would not want their death to cause legal disputes between their children. An attorney may be able to help clients to create legally binding estate planning documents that make their last wishes clear. To prevent fights between siblings, some parents may want to set up financial trusts so that the details of who gets what can remain private.