Poor estate planning can often lead to unintended consequences for loved ones, including family conflicts. One of the first steps a Georgia estate owner can take in order to make this less likely is choosing the right executor.

Some families descend into conflict because they do not trust the executor, even if it is a family member. In other bad scenarios, the executor will not communicate or follow through on the necessary duties. One way to prevent this is by choosing a professional as an executor. This might be a corporate trustee or a fiduciary depending on the size of the estate. Estate owners should also make sure they have addressed what will happen to sentimental items. These can often cause the biggest fights. To avoid issues, it’s wise to talk to family members about what they want.

Sometimes, estate owners want to avoid giving heirs, especially younger ones, large sums of money at once. Instead, they can set up trusts to stagger payments. While this may be prudent, in general, this should not be stretched over decades. Some people might also want to distribute assets unequally to beneficiaries because of differences in their resources or for some other reasons. If this is the case, they should let beneficiaries know why either beforehand or in writing.

It’s generally a good idea to talk to an attorney about estate planning and probate. Probate is what the will must go through before assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Since it is a public process that takes some time, some people choose to use other methods such as beneficiary designations and trusts to pass assets.