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Estrangement, conflict, and estate planning

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Estate law |

Estate planning is not always straightforward. Although the legal guidelines surrounding how someone drafts a last will and testament or a trust will only change if Connecticut state law changes, relationships between family members can become strained. Estate planning might become more complicated when dealing with strife and the family.

Family estrangement and estate planning

Difficulties between family members can take many forms, with estrangement being one of the more extreme. Estrangement involves a family member cutting off contact with others. Attempts to reconcile can prove fruitless, creating complexities with estate plans. Now, issues may arise where someone sees the distribution of assets during probate as inequitable.

When a family member becomes estranged, it may create complications for the estate planner who has no plans to distribute assets equitably. For instance, if one child has remained close to the parents while the other has cut ties, the former child may inherit a larger portion, or even all, of the estate’s assets. The outcome can potentially lead to conflicts between the siblings as the latter may feel unfairly treated, irrespective of the circumstances.

Dealing with the situation

The fallout from a relative being unhappy with a will can result in their contesting during probate. However, they might not have any solid grounds to make their claim. The document would likely stand if fraud and other underhand matters did not move the estate planner to leave them out of the will. Still, the estate planning decisions can lead to ill will between the surviving relatives.

One way to deal with the conflict is not to allow the results to be a surprise. Communication might be necessary even when there is strife and estrangement between family members. Informing a relative they won’t receive anything may make things less stressful for everyone when probate commences.