"Even with the best written trust and a 'close-knit' family, expect conflict and disagreement and plan accordingly.  If in the end your expectation of conflict goes un-warranted,  count yourself as one of the few lucky ones"

Living Trusts, Trusts, Wills, Probate

and related family issues

It is true, most trusts spell out the wishes of the Trustee(s) - Settlor(s) and give direction for the dissolution / distribution of assets, giving legal authority to an appointed person or persons to carry out those wishes. 

Even the most comprehensive estate planning cannot predict or address potential emotional issues or conflict that may arise from an estate plan. 

Some planning provides very specific distribution plans for specific assets or personal items, however most plans do provide enough detail.  

Either way, problems of distribution often appear in situations with multiple beneficiaries, multiple generations, or multiple marriages that created blended families. 

You have no doubtedly heard the wise advice "don't ever do business with family".  Probably because those of us who have not heeded that advice have learned the hard way that many times when the business deal does not work out as planned or differing opinions and personalities create a seemingly impassable block, the relationship suffers due to hurt feelings, tension, stress, anger and negative feelings from the past that can last a lifetime.

 

The same scenario holds true for families settling an estate.  

 

Regardless of the legal authority the executor(s), successor trustee(s) or co-trustee(s) may have, it doesn't change the fact that old feelings and emotions may play a large part in how cooperative family or beneficiaries may be. 

Choosing to incorporate a 'neutral 3rd party' in the process, will help carry out directions from an estate administrator or attorney, without having a target painted on the back of the executor. 

 

If disagreement has already become a part of the (creation) or the settlement of a wealth transfer plan, choosing to settle disputes through mediation will out-weigh the time-consuming stress of possible litigation as well as 'cost less' financially, emotionally, and allow a better chance of relationships being preserved.