It can be hard to think about a time when you won’t be there for your family, but it could be even harder on your family if you don’t. Leaving without a comprehensive plan in place could put your family on the verge of dispute.

More than one-third of people have experienced or know someone who has experienced conflict within their family because the estate plan was lacking. This number could be high because so many leave without proper panning, as only 40% of Americans have a will, and just 17% have a trust set up. These steps could be the answer to avoiding damaging conflict among your family when you’ve passed on.

  • Health care directives: Your family will likely have to step up in the event that you become incapacitated. Emotions may run high during this time, and not having a clear plan for your care can lead to heated disagreements between close relatives. By forming a plan for what treatments to use, what assistance you find acceptable and when to draw the line, you’ll probably be helping avoid conflict.
  • Asset distribution: Asset division is a big part of settling your estate, and it can be fraught with peril. Disputes can quickly arise when discussing how much you have, the individual worth and where it’s all headed. Organizing everything ahead of time through a will and appropriate trusts can diffuse the situation before arguments occur, especially when it holds your verified stamp of approval.
  • Estate administration: When you make important decisions regarding choices to be made, the next crucial step is appointing someone to carry out your wishes. There isn’t always a best candidate for the whole process, and it can be a lot to put on the shoulders of one person. You may have one family member who excels in the world of health care, while another may be an expert on navigating trusts. It’s important to think hard about the best person for the job to minimize difficulties down the road.

Taking care of your loved ones can mean a lot more than just leaving a few assets behind. Making time to plan for common contingencies and providing them with a road map could go a long way to keeping them united through the dark and difficult time after you’re gone.