10 Ways to Lawsuit-Proof Your Estate #1

FORBES Magazine online blog, The Best Revenge – by Ashlea Ebeling, has an excellent article called 10 Ways to Lawsuit Proof Your Estate that covers a lot of the advice that we at Ainer & Fraker, LLP give to our clients.

Please read the entire article by clicking on the following link: 10 Ways to Lawsuit-Proof Your Estate.

Today, we examine part 1 – Treat Siblings Equally

You can avoid estate litigation most of the time by treating people with the same degree of relationship to you equally. Three kids get one-third each. Trouble brews when you cut out kids in favor of grandchildren or favor one family line, giving more to the child who bore you more grandchildren.

Decisions get more complicated with multiple marriages. Should you treat the children from a second or third marriage the same as your son from your first marriage, putting a 40-year-old on the same footing as a 20-year-old, who isn’t yet launched?  What about stepchildren? The default rule (that’s what happens if you die without a will or the will is thrown out) treats stepchildren the same as full children.

~ Ashlea Ebeling, 10 Ways to Lawsuit Proof Your Estate

Ainer & Fraker, LLP Analysis

Estate Equalization is one of the greatest ways to promote Family Harmony in Estate Planning.

Where the Estate has mostly non-liquid assets – i.e. Real Estate or a Family Business – it becomes more challenging to treat everyone equally.

Putting all family members on a Deed or giving everyone equal shares of stock in the Family Business is generally a recipe for family infighting.

A much better solution: Use Life Insurance to Equalize the Estate or to Save the Family Business.

In this way, everyone gets what they want – either the asset or the cash.

If they don’t like what they receive, they can always offer to buy a sibling out.