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Your Last Wish: No Inheritance Disputes

When you are no longer able to manage your affairs, someone, somewhere, will be sure to step in if you haven’t made arrangements for the distribution of your assets. Sometimes, there can be family squabbles over what you have worked for and left behind, and you’d rather have your estate settled amicably.

All seniors should consider estate planning, and in our uncertain world, it is never too early to plan for the future, especially if you sense that there can be conflicts among your inheritors. One of the most common mistakes people make is falling prey to the “I’ve got plenty of time” syndrome. The best time to plan is when you are healthy and alert, so you can think about how your passing may affect the loved ones you leave behind.

Being of sound mind, as it were, adds validity to the planning. If, say, you leave a large amount of inheritance to a caregiver, jealous family members may accuse that caregiver of influencing Mom when she was feeble and not in her right mind. It is too common for a family member to contest the legitimacy of a will, claiming the decedent was not in his or her right mind.

It is wise to communicate your wishes to your family and other interested parties so there are no surprises. It is not a pleasant topic, but it is a vital one. You can explain your decision as to why each person is or isn’t entitled to a share.

Besides a will, a living trust is advisable for caring for yourself while still alive. This puts your assets into a trust for your benefit and makes it easier for your loved ones to receive what you have designated for them.

If you have an estate plan, make sure you review it, especially if you have undergone a major life change since last time.

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The law office of elder law attorney Scott C. Painter, P.C., is located in Wyomissing (outside of Reading, PA, in Berks County,) and offers trusted legal services in the areas of elder law, including nursing home planning, trust and estate services, and veterans benefits. Scott C. Painter is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®), and he is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

If you have an issue or question, we encourage you to call us. With legal matters, time is of the essence. Call us for a consultation at 610-378-5140. The $300 consultation fee is waived if Attorney Painter is retained to perform services.