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Set strong estate goals to minimize probate litigation

No one wants to see their legacy be trickled away through the expense of a drawn-out probate battle. One way that you can reduce the risks of expensive probate litigation for your heirs is to work with an estate attorney to set strong goals and follow through with equally strong estate planning. Following are some tips for setting goals.

First, choose goals for your estate that are yours. Yes, you might have the interest of your heirs at heart, but if you set goals that are the passion of others, you are less likely to achieve them. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your wealth and legacy, and talk to your attorney about how you can make those desires a reality.

Second, be specific about your goals. "I want to ensure that my loved ones are taken care of" is a noble goal, but how are you going to do that? "I want to leave my spouse with a home and at least $250,000 in assets" is a more specific goal. When you set measurable goals, you're able to know when you've reached a level of success with them.

Finally, put your goals and your plans in writing. When you're dealing with estate plans, that means putting your wishes down on paper in the form of a will or other estate planning document. If you set strong goals and back them with professionally written estate planning documents, your heirs are less likely to face stressful probate battles.

It's a good idea to talk with your loved ones ahead of time about your goals and plans. If they aren't shocked by the contents of your will, then they might be less likely to question your wishes in court.

Source: MindTools, "Golden Rules of Goal Setting," accessed Dec. 23, 2016

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