Many New Jersey residents understand the importance of estate planning. They know the benefits of having their affairs in order in case something unexpected happens. But for those who are still undergoing the creation of an estate plan one thing they may want to keep in mind is minimizing the disputes that can arise between their children.

An estate plan is a way for a person to express their wishes when they are no longer alive. The estate plan can tell those left behind how their assets should be distributed and who will receive them. Most of the time an estate plan is followed according to a person’s wishes and there are no serious problems. But occasionally sibling animosity can occur with their parent’s estate plan. There are a few things a person can do to minimize problems among siblings.

The first thing to prevent serious problems is to have a skilled estate planning attorney. This person can offer sound guidance to their client and make sure their estate plan works for their situation. Second, a financial overview document can be helpful. This document would include all assets, liabilities and insurance policies a person has including how they are titled and who the beneficiaries are. It would also include the names and contact information for all financial, legal and insurance professionals. Including the usernames and passwords for important websites should be included as well. And, finally, a legacy letter should be written that dictates how nonfinancial items should be distributed to heirs. The third step is for a person to schedule a family meeting. The meeting should include all named heirs and a person should outline their estate plan, explain who the estate executor will be, make sure at least one person knows where the estate documents are located and discuss nonfinancial estate items, how they will be distributed and the thought process that went into the plan.

A legal professional who is skilled in estate planning can create a plan for their client that makes sense for their family circumstances. Having a plan in place reduces familial conflict and ensures a person’s wishes are followed.