If you are in the process of drafting up your estate plan for after you pass, there are multiple steps you can take to ensure that your estate plan does not create discord amount your family members when you pass away. When you pass away, your family should be focused on celebrating your life and accepting your passing, not arguing over the way that your estate plan was established and created. Here are three steps you can take to ensure that when you pass, the main topic of discussion and discord is not your estate plan.

#1 Share Your Estate Plan With Your Family

You don't have to share every detail of your estate plan with your family, but it is a good idea to sit them down and discuss your estate plan after you have developed it. Depending on the make-up and geological dispersion of your family, you can hold a family meeting where you share your plan with everyone all at once, or you can have individual discussions with each member of your family.

By sharing your estate plan before you pass, you allow your family members to ask any questions that they have about your plan. This also gives you an opportunity to help your family understand your reasoning and thinking about how you are dividing up your estate. Often times, talking with family members may bring up issues you failed to address, which may result in you making changes to your estate plan.

#2 Be Flexible With Your Estate Plan

The second thing you need to do to ensure that there is not discord over your estate plan is to be flexible and review your estate plan every year with both your attorney and your estate planner. 

During this review, you can take into consideration any changes in your family dynamic that would result in changes to your estate. For example, if your daughter adopted a child during the past year, you may want to ensure that you include your daughter's child in your estate plan. Or, if you sold off a piece of property that you had planned to give a specific family member, you would need to take that information out of your estate and perhaps adjust your estate so that family member received something different from you when you pass.

Additionally, both state and federal estate and tax laws change over time. Reviewing your estate plan on an annual basis is an easy way to ensure that your current estate plan works with all federal and state laws, and would not have harmful negative financial consequences for your family members. 

Think of your estate plan as a living document instead of something that is set in stone.

#3 Include A Mediation Provision

Finally, to ensure that your family does not end up in court battling it out over who gets what when you pass away, you can also add a dispute resolution clause to your estate plan. This clause may require that all parties involved first go through mediation before going to court over disagreements with your estate plan. 

Although this provision will hopefully not be needed, it can force your family members to sit down, talk with one another and think with clear heads in the event of a dispute with your will.

By sharing your estate plan with your family, being flexible in adjusting your estate plan as life changes and by including a mediation provision, you can help ensure that your plan does not cause discord among your family when you die. To learn more, speak with someone like Stimpson & Associates PC.