Let’s face facts; losing a loved one (particularly a spouse) is one of the saddest and most emotionally challenging experiences you can go through.
To make matters worse, attempting to organise a deceased’s estate and organise inheritance payment introduces the potential for further stress and family conflict, causing rifts that may be difficult to resolve even over time.
But how can you handle a family bereavement and subsequent inheritance smoothly, and what steps will help in this regard? Let’s find out!
#1. Work with an Experienced Family or Estate Planning Lawyer
When looking to deal with an estate efficiently and minimise conflict, one of the most important steps is to expedite the estate planning and asset distribution process.
You can do this by working closely with a specialist legal expert, who can take responsibility for the central elements of managing a deceased’s estate while you focus on taking care of family relationships and processing your own emotions.
At the same time, a legal professional will help you manage your expectations and guide you on what’s fair, customary and required to make the estate planning process considerably smoother.
At the same time, experienced firms can remain sensitive to your needs and emotions, while they’ll look to work in tandem with appointed estate executors rather than riding roughshod over them.
#2. Be Proactive and Consider Lifetime Gifting
Another key consideration when handling a family bereavement and inheritance is to adopt a proactive mindset wherever possible.
For example, you or your loved one could consider the process of ‘lifetime gifting’, which requires you to share assets with beneficiaries at least seven years before you pass in order to ensure that they’re not subjected to inheritance tax (IHT).
This may also handle a significant portion of the deceased’s estate ahead of time, minimising the stress and administrative burden of managing the estate in the wake of a loved one’s passing.
This can also help younger beneficiaries to cope with the rising cost of living in the UK, while potentially affording them a lump sum to pay off their university fees and minimise debt or create the deposit for a home.
#3. Strive to Settle Any Disputes Out of Court
If there is dispute about the distribution of an estate, it’s important to handle this maturely and settle the argument as quickly (and as amicably) as possible.
Once again, legal expertise is crucial here, as a vanishingly small number of conflicts that are mediated by solicitors end up in court.
As a result, lawyers play a key role in resolving disputes quickly without necessarily forcing you to compromise on outcomes, which is a dream scenario for all parties involved.
Of course, you’d prefer to avoid conflict completely, but this isn’t always possible given the grief and rampant emotions that surround the death of a partner.