Estate planning experts in Houston encourage that those engaged in the process remain as transparent as possible in order to avoid any contention arising among those that they leave behind. Some may not view that as a concern due to the assumption that the only interaction among beneficiaries that is required during estate administration is when assets are distributed. However, the job administering some estate may continue on for months or even years (especially when an estate contains intellectual properties that need to be managed). In such cases, collaboration and cooperation between beneficiaries is vital.
This makes the need for a settlor to clear with their expectations of and desires for their beneficiaries even more important. The dispute between members of the family of the late singing icon Tom Petty serves to illustrate this point. Petty’s daughters and his widow have been battling over joint control of his estate (which includes management of his music catalog) since shortly after he died. His daughters claim that his intention was for them to manage his estate jointly with his widow (who is not their mother). Petty’s widow, however, has not allowed that to happen, instead attempting to manage the estate themselves. The three reportedly arrived at a settlement to their dispute last month, though the details of it have yet to be released.
This case (and others like it) show just how complex the estate administration process can be. For this reason, those preparing their estates as well as those working through the administration of the estate of a loved one may be well-served to enlist the services of an attorney during the process.