Friction between family members can escalate during a scorching summer heatwave. Likewise, a flawed estate plan has the potential to breed conflict, mistrust, and financial turmoil among your beneficiaries in several ways.
Lack of a plan. If you fail to create an estate plan altogether, it can lead to significant disputes and confusion among your family members. Without clear instructions, loved ones could argue over what your intentions were, and state laws will dictate the distribution of your accounts and property in a manner that could be inconsistent with your wishes. This can result in some individuals feeling left out or receiving less than they anticipated.
Vague or generic plan. If your estate plan lacks specificity or fails to address important questions, it can open the door for interpretation and disagreement among your beneficiaries. Detailed instructions and provisions in the plan can help prevent disputes and provide clarity as to how you prefer different situations to be handled. Without clear instructions, disputes may arise regarding how money and property is to be divided, guardianship of minor children, or your intentions. This uncertainty can lead to protracted legal battles, strained relationships, and irreparable family rifts.
Outdated plan. Circumstances change over time, and your estate plan may no longer align with your current wishes or family situation. For example, if a beneficiary named in the plan predeceases you, it is crucial to have contingencies in place. Financial institutions may also be hesitant to accept outdated estate planning documents such as a financial power of attorney. Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan helps ensure its relevance and effectiveness. We suggest three to five years for a review, even if you don’t update your plans, at least you’ll be reminded of what is in them and confirm they still provide for your wants and wishes.
Unequal treatment of beneficiaries. While you have the right to distribute your money and property as you see fit and in the manner you think best, treating beneficiaries unequally can create tension and hurt feelings among family members. Open communication and discussing the reasoning behind your decisions ahead of time can alleviate stress, help manage expectations, and minimize conflicts.
Unclear wishes regarding care and decision-making. Apart from your money and property, your estate plan should also address your wishes for medical and financial decision-making if you become unable to make your own decisions. If you fail to provide clear instructions, it can lead to disagreements among family members who may have different opinions about your care. To prevent conflicts, it is important that you appoint reliable decision-makers and clearly communicate your wishes.
Conflicting decision-makers. Conflicts may arise when multiple individuals, such as children, are given priority to serve as decision-makers. Each person may have different philosophies or opinions about your care, leading to disagreements and potential disputes. It is crucial to consider these dynamics and select decision-makers who can work together harmoniously.
Unexpected tax consequences. Inadequate estate planning can lead to significant tax liabilities that may deplete the wealth you intended to pass on to your loved ones or favorite organizations. By leveraging effective tax planning strategies such as trusts or gifting, you can potentially minimize estate taxes and maximize the financial legacy you leave behind.
Business succession issues. If you own a family business, a lack of succession planning can be particularly detrimental. Without a well-defined plan, conflicts may arise regarding leadership, ownership, and the future direction of the business. This can jeopardize the continuity of the enterprise and strain relationships among family members involved in the business.
Emotional toll on loved ones. A poorly crafted or outdated estate plan can place an immense emotional burden on your loved ones during an already challenging time. Without clear guidance, your family members may be left guessing your wishes, resulting in anxiety, resentment, and fractured familial bonds. By proactively addressing potential conflicts in your estate plan, you can alleviate the emotional strain on your beneficiaries and foster a sense of unity.
To mitigate these potential conflicts, it is advisable to consult with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys to create a comprehensive and up-to-date plan. Regularly reviewing and updating the plan as circumstances change can help ensure that your intentions are clearly communicated, reducing the likelihood of conflicts among your loved ones, and protecting your legacy.
Jason did a fantastic job working on our trust and business entities. He and his firm get five stars!!”
We started doing estate planning with Bill Oehler in the 1980’s and have continued to work with this firm. Now we work with Jason. He continues to meet our needs just as well as Bill did. We are very pleased.”
Becky Henry was great to work with. Her communication was awesome, even taking time for us on a Friday evening after hours. When we ran into a snag with the title company and home sale check, Becky took care of the details and again had great communi…”
We have worked with Jason for our will and health directive and my father also worked with him before his death. My dad was a hard sell and he really liked Jason and his care and concern. We have revised our will several times and Jason is always pro…”
Very satisfied with all of our business with Wagner law firm.”
The firm handled our complicated farmland sale successfully. It included a change in our partnership and a 1031 exchange as part of the process. It also involved multiple parties in 3 states working through the transactions together. Becky and Jennif…”
It was very nice to do business with the entire firm. Everyone was easy to work with and very professional.”
I just finished a real estate purchase. I honestly believe this whole transaction would not have been completed without the exceptional expertise, diligence and thoughtful consideration of Becky Henry. She is unflappable; probably because she is so k…”
My father and I worked with Alec and Becky and they were amazing! We quickly closed on our property and they helped us with the issues that arose while going thru the sale of the property. I will definitely use them again in the future.”
Jennifer went over my Will and other Directives to make sure everything was still in order and we took necessary steps to update other items. Very happy with the work she did.”
Becky Henry handled two farm real estate transactions for me during 2021. Becky was very professional, thorough, and always interested if I had any concerns or questions. I may purchase more land in 2022 and look forward to working with her again.”
We just worked with Becky Henry and Alec Osland on purchasing a property. Our experience was very positive. Our questions were answered immediately, and we were always kept in the loop. They were both very knowledgeable and reassuring, even with all…”
Our family worked with Jason Wagner and Tamara Scroggins on what turned out to be a very complicated sale of our family farm to a nonprofit conservation organization. They walked us through the process every step of the way, and personally committed…”
Becky Henry was great to work with. She was very thorough on her information and instructions and the closing process was very smooth. Everything was done in a timely manner. We would definitely work with her again in the future.”
Becky Henry did a good job handling the sale of our real estate. The sale was done very efficiently, and Becky always kept in contact as to the progress of the sale. We have worked with this law firm over the years and have been very satisfied with t…”
Alyssa Jerde was amazing helping us set up our trust and walking us thru it. She made it such an easy process. I would highly recommend her for all your estate needs.”
Our house sale was a delight to go through with Alec providing answers to our questions and concerns. The firm did an outstanding job with the details and maintained our timeline for the move. Thank you to the entire team from a satisfied customer.”
Working with Alec was so nice! He worked with us on the sale of our home and was always easy to contact…… even with a question on the weekend. It was seamless! He is personable and takes the time to explain options. We are so glad that we connect…”
We are very appreciative of the quick, professional help that we got from Becky and Cole in getting a closing done right at the end of the year. The process went smoothly even though there was just a short time to get it completed. Thanks for a good…”
Becky & Alec were extremely helpful throughout the process of selling my home. They were both patient with my questions and provided clear answers. I saved a good bit of money working with them and highly recommend them to anyone selling their home.”
Excellent legal advice. Reviewed all the legal options & consequences of our decisions. Helpful from start to finish.”
They turnaround their title work extremely quickly (faster than any attorney firm I've ever worked with in 40 plus years of banking), their fees are reasonable, and their people are absolutely "top notch" to work with.”
After moving to Minnesota from another state my husband and I needed someone to update our wills and trust and make any necessary changes to comply with both Minnesota regulations as well as our changing family situation. Jason is extremely capable a…”
The transaction went smoothly, and I felt welcome to ask questions.”
I hired Attorney Jason Wagner to assist me in resolving a claim related to an annuity I had received from a relative upon her death as well as resolving my claim as related to the validity of her will. Jason’s profile and that of his firm appea…”
I recommend Jennifer Gumbel to anyone that needs help with estate planning. Jennifer made the daunting process understandable and simple for me. Not only did she do this with kindness but it also was done in a very timely manner.”
Ward & Oehler are awesome!!”
We had them do our wills….great service!”
The best I know.”
Living overseas and selling farmland in MN was problematic, but Becky Henry made the process easy for me. Her work and advice led to a non-stressful close. Can’t thank her enough!!”
After my dad died my brother and I found out our dad had no will which left both of us clueless on where to start. We hired Jason right away and he made the whole process of going through the estate stress free. Without Jason’s knowledge of the…”
Bill is a great attorney! He’s served us/me well for many years!”
Very nice and quick service.”
Honest, professional, and down to earth.”
Becky Henry & Cole Tousignant were extremely helpful, knowledgeable, flexible and understanding throughout our entire process! We would recommend them for any of your needs!”
I recently purchased a condominium in Rochester, MN. As an out of state attorney, I knew that retaining competent counsel in Minnesota to represent me in the transaction was important. For that reason, I retained Jason Wagner and his firm. Jason did…”
They handled our Real Estate closing & did an awesome job. Becky Henry basically took care of everything for us – so smooth. Thanks!!”