Writing a will may seem like a good bet to help your estate pass through probate without major delays. Still, some families experience a lengthy period of probate because siblings fight over the will in court. To help avoid this problem, you may want to do more than just state your wishes in your will.
According to U.S. News and World Report, many court fights over wills break out because of long-running feuds between siblings, sometimes going back to when they were young. You may lessen the chance of this happening to your family by including one or more letters along with your will explaining why you made your estate choices.
Clarifying your estate wishes
Even if your children do not get along, they may still respect your wishes if you explain your reasons for dispersing your estate as you have dictated. One place to do it is in the will itself. It should be little trouble to add a few paragraphs in the will discussing why one child will get a larger amount of money or why you want another child to have your antique set.
If you want to further elaborate on your desires, you may write up a separate letter and attach it to the will. You could go further and write individual letters to your heirs, addressing each one directly and personally.
Reasons to add letters to your will
The major reason to write letters to your heirs is to dissuade them from launching legal battles that will trap your estate in limbo. This may help even if you see no outward feuding among your children. Sometimes parents have no idea that their children harbor resentments toward each other. Composing explanatory letters may give you peace of mind that you have not overlooked this possibility.
In addition, you may be a young parent with children who are no older than infants or toddlers. If you should die suddenly, you will not see your children grow up and will never know whether they get along or not. They will likely not receive their inheritance until much later when they are older. You may wish to write heartfelt letters to help your children understand your desires for them.