Yes, it’s a free country, so anyone can talk with anyone. But whether that would be productive is a whole other matter. Situations can occur where fighting families spend more on legal fees in court litigation than the actual worth of what the heirs stand to inherit.
The easiest way to avoid fighting is to speak to everyone directly to manage their expectations about the estate plan and receive their input. These family discussions need to include all heirs equally because if one heir gets a say about what they inherit, so should all.
These conversations can be difficult because an equal division is not always possible depending on the money or property involved. Additionally, some well-off heirs may want more sentimental items or family collections rather than cash, as it might change their tax bracket. In contrast, the less well-off heirs can genuinely benefit from additional monies. Extra communication can go a long way in understanding why certain decisions are made. Learn more about avoiding disputes in probate.
When you have concerns about estate planning and administration processes and a troublesome family dynamic, you may be better off taking those concerns to an estate planning attorney in your area. They can advise and mediate a discussion designed to clarify expectations between family members. No one should be blindsided by information after their loved one is deceased.
Harry S. Margolis practices elder law, estate, and special needs planning in Boston and Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the founder of ElderLawAnswers.com and answers consumer questions about estate planning issues here and at AskHarry.info.