“All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Leo Tolstoy
Strained relations between client and family or among the presumptive beneficiaries of the estate are the primary “red flags” to be considered when planning for future estate litigation. In truly troubled families, where substance abuse, cult influence, extreme profligacy or other deviant behavior is evident, considering the likelihood of estate litigation and properly planning to guard against it could be the difference between abject poverty and substantial comfort for the estate’s beneficiaries. Estate planning in the absence of this information is akin to a pilot flying blind. However, once the “red flags” are spotted, effective prophylactic estate planning is very feasible and a true bargain when compared to the cost of litigation.