If you are one of the many people in Washington State who has not only created but regularly maintained and updated your estate plan, you should feel quite good about this. It can provide great peace of mind knowing that you have your affairs in order. However, have you also taken the time and made the effort to discuss your plan with your family members? If you have not done this, your estate and your family could be headed for trouble you would not want to imagine.
As explained by AARP, holding family discussions about a person's estate plans should be considered part and parcel of making the plan in the first place. Family disputes can arise even when all plans and wishes are clearly outlined in wills, trusts or other ways. One set of siblings spent eight years in litigation before resolving how they would split up a vacation home and some land. Whether the vacation home on the San Juan Islands or a primary residence in Tacoma, people in Washington State should be sure their children know how things will be taken care of ahead of time.
An interesting element to post-death family disputes may well be the spouses of adult children. These people are often not as forgiving as the siblings with each other and therefore can fuel arguments rather than aid in resolutions.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give people in Washington State useful information about how and why having family discussions about estate planning before a person dies is so important.