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4 statistics about failed estate planning

When your estate planning works, your heirs move through the probate process with little conflict. Things go smoothly, arguments are few and far between, and you know that everyone will stay on good terms for years to come.

When it fails, disputes rise up and create a gulf between your heirs. They wind up battling their way through a long, difficult probate process. No one is happy with the outcome. Below are four telling statistics about estate planning disputes:

  1. More than 20 percent of beneficiaries end up fighting over an estate. Even if you think this won't happen to your family, it can.
  2. Under 33 percent of parents talk to their children about estate planning in advance. This may contribute to disputes because children may have unrealistic expectations that do not get met.
  3. When those who did not go through disputes were asked if they knew what to expect up front, 63 percent said that they did.
  4. Of those noted above, a full 80 percent said that they thought the estate planning was done fairly.

So, what does this tell you? It tells you that communication is incredibly important. Many disputes really do happen because parents just do not want to talk about estate planning. It causes problems down the line. When parents are honest about their planning and open about talking to the kids, things work out the way that those parents really want them to.

If your parents never communicated with you about their estate plan, and you fear it is going to be a long, complex probate process, make sure you know all of your legal rights regarding probate litigation.

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