Category Archives: The Way I See It

Four Things that Cause Sibling Feuds Regarding Estate Planning

 

Caring for an ill parent or settling their estate once they have passed is an emotional time in a family and can start a feud or add to an already existing one if specific preventative measures are not taken. When parents divide their assets to their children, they don’t expect such fights to occur, but they do. Not all disagreements can be prevented, but with careful planning, following the advice of an Estate Planning Attorney, parents can try to avoid these issues.

Here are four things that commonly cause fights and advice on how to prevent them from happening.

  1. No Healthcare Directive and Power of Attorney

When a parent gets sick, it can be stressful, especially if they need to be hospitalized for an extended period. This can become more challenging if their situation becomes critical and they are unable to voice their healthcare or financial wishes. If a parent does not have a Healthcare Directive or Power of Attorney, their loved ones are forced to make the decisions for themselves. This can cause conflict between siblings if they are unable to agree on a resolution. In some circumstances, siblings have taken each other to court to fight for ‘their side’. This can cause a rift in their relationship, costly court fees, and lost time that instead should be spent by their parent’s side.

To avoid this conflict, parents should have their Healthcare Directive and Power of Attorney prepared:

  • A Healthcare Directive specifies your wishes for medical treatments and allows you to appoint someone to carry out your wishes if there is ever a time when you are no longer able to communicate or provide consent
  • A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs, such as your property, while you are incapacitated
  1. No Will

If both parents pass away without a Will, a family can be thrown into chaos. This can cause fights between siblings if they want the same thing or can’t agree on how to equally divide the items.

Parents should create a Will and specify who gets what. They can identify items and give them as gifts to their children. Creating a Will not only ensures your loved ones are looked after, but it decreases the chance of siblings fighting over material possessions.

  1. Lack of Communication

In some cases, having a Will is not enough to stop feuds from occurring. A lot of times, parents don’t discuss their Will with their children (as it can be uncomfortable talking about money or their mortality). However, this lack of communication can cause more problems between siblings because it is too late to hear their parents’ reasoning.

Parents should communicate with their children about their Will so they are aware of the contents and can have an open discussion.

  1. Wrong Personal Representative/Executor

A Personal Representative/Executor will distribute the assets Personal Representative/Executor. Since the Personal Representative/Executor has the power to make decisions, it can create some tension between siblings. Arguments can arise because they may feel jealous that their sibling is the Personal Representative/Executor or that their sibling is abusing their power and not carrying out their responsibilities.

Often parents can select a third party as their Personal Representative/Executor. This can help alleviate tension between siblings as the Personal Representative/Executor is impartial and has no personal interest in the estate.

Every situation is different and sometimes feuds and disagreement cannot be avoided even with careful planning and the best intentions. As always, I recommend a lawyer in the state in which you reside prepare these papers, so there are no legal issues when the time comes for them to be implemented. If you live in the Daytona Beach, Florida area, call my office for a free consultation.

 

Estate Planning Pitfalls

There are numerous pitfalls of which you need to be aware regarding your Estate Plan.

You’ve worked way too hard to leave your estate plan to chance. Stop procrastinating and protect your family and loved ones and your hard-earned legacy today. However, when doing so, there are numerous pitfalls of which you should be aware.

A simple Google search can reveal some harrowing examples of those pitfalls. This is part one of a multi-part series of what can happen when Estate Planning goes wrong:

Pitfall Possibility #1: Picking An Inappropriate Personal Representative

Are there any long-standing feuds in your family? Does your anticipated Personal Representative live near you? Who will handle your final affairs in an appropriate and fair manner?

These are all questions to spend some time thinking about when determining the best person or persons to act on your behalf after your death. Read on to review an example of what can happen if these things aren’t considered properly:

“When you’re dealing with families, things can get complicated—quick. We see so many cases come through with unresolved feuds between siblings. It’s one of the most common causes of litigation over an estate.

I handled one case where a client’s sister had been named the executor of their father’s estate, despite the fact that she lived in a different state than both her father and brother, whom she’d been fighting with for years.

Ideally, in a case like that, the parents would have named an objective, independent personal representative—like another family member or a trusted friend—as their estate’s executor, instead of one of the kids.

But that didn’t happen here.

After the father passed away, our client started to take care of a few things around the house, not realizing he didn’t have the legal right to do so. Once his sister arrived, there were accusations about items being removed—and a long legal battle ensued.

Ultimately, even though the estate was to be divided evenly, our client’s sister had all of the decision-making power to decide how that happened, so long as the monetary value was equal. There is no way to challenge her decisions in court, and we’re still waiting to see whether or not the siblings can put their feelings aside and divide the estate fairly.

To avoid contentious situations like this, we counsel clients to consider the complicated dynamics between the family members named in a will. If there’s even a possibility of an estate causing fights or damaging relationships, we encourage them to look for an independent personal representative who can settle things fairly.”

                                                    —Tom Gisriel, attorney at Pessin Katz Law, Baltimore, Md.

Mr. Gisriel finishes his story with some valuable advice: Consider complicated dynamics between family members and think about an independent Personal Representative if those dynamics will damage relationships –a neutral family friend? Your Attorney?

Follow the blog, so you do not miss the next chapters of Estate Planning Pitfalls.

Avoid these headaches by putting your Estate Plan in motion today by meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney where you reside.

Heidi S. Webb provides competent, experienced and trusted Estate Planning and Probate Estate Administration services to clients in the Daytona Beach, Florida area. Call today to schedule your free legal consultation.

Original Article with “case studies” located at https://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/estate-planning-mistakes

WARNING: Cheeseburger Toppings Say A Lot About Your Personality  

37582_516864494282_203101201_30587669_5762779_nPeople are always looking for ways to predict things. Ever since Nostradamus, folks have been overly obsessed with knowing what’s going to happen. We have the Farmer’s Almanac, palm readings and horoscopes. Many important people who are deserving don’t have a day of the year named after them but a groundhog does; why? because he predicts things. Along those lines, did you know that one of the most popular sections of any magazine is its personality prediction test?  hmmmm.  But here’s something you probably haven’t considered:  those gourmet cheeseburgers you just ordered speak volumes about yourself and the person across the table.

So you like it extremely well done? In that case ‘how are you Mr. or Ms. Conservative?’ You are the type of person that buttons the top button on a Polo shirt and it’s not uncommon to see you sporting a cloth mask over you face when out in public to prevent germ transmission. Voting republican for you is not a choice, it’s instinctive.

Did I just see you reach for the hot sauce? You got into trouble a lot as a kid and still prefer things a little on the wild side don’t you? 

So you like ketchup on top AND a little spicy mustard. You are a person who is responsible and slightly conservative, but watch out for that spontaneous and fun side which periodically comes out to play.

I see yours has melted cheese dripping down the sides and grease soaking up into the bun. Most likely you are a person that believes a home is meant to be lived in and cleaning comes about as often as Christmas.

Hot sauce, grilled onions and Chipoltle Mayo, I am not even going to begin to get into that one.

I could go on but you get the idea, who knew that a gourmet cheeseburger could give away so much about your personality? A good reason to never order one at a business meeting, but if you do, remember that person sitting across the table from you will know a lot about your personality before your first bite.

p.s. remind me to tell you about IBM and the salt shaker ‘test’ some day.

Heidi Webb is a Cheeseburger connoisseur residing in Ormond Beach Florida & working in Daytona Beach, Florida.  And while she is a self-proclaimed expert of where to find the best cheeseburger in Volusia County, she does not limit herself to that area and has been spotted enjoying burgers as far south as Key West, as North as Montpelier, Vermont and on the west coast in San Diego California.  When she is not enjoying a great cheeseburger she practices law and is licensed in both Florida and New Mexico, specializing in Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts, Probate and Small Business matters.

The Way I See [eat] It

Happy Friday everyone! 

Ah, Buffington’s Maple Bourbon Bacon Burger it’s my “we’ll always have Paris…” burger. In the meanwhile,  I’ll be popping by Buffington’s this weekend to see how the Gouda Prosciutto Burger stacks up!

What are your plans?

The Way I See It

I love where I live & I love to take pictures, so rather than ending the week with some heavy Estate Planning tip, I thought I’d share a picture of a beautiful sunrise.  I haven’t caught one for a while…. who wants to join me this weekend for a sunrise walk?

Happy Friday!