Family Pulling Party Favors During Christmas Dinner

The estate of a loved one can create a bitter fight that breaks a family apart for a lifetime. But those battles can often be avoided with careful planning.

When someone makes an estate plan, the desire to avoid a family battle is often a top priority because, at the end of the fight, family relationships can be destroyed for life.

And, while it is not always possible to ensure that your family will not argue about your estate, there are some steps that can help avoid the battles as discussed by the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in “Some Considerations To Keep In Mind To Avoid Family Estate Squabbles.”

The suggestions include:

  • Get a Will – Many family fights start because the deceased does not have a proper will and has instead made conflicting promises to individual family members. For example, that they can have this or that piece of property. Without a will, however, by law everything goes to the closest living relatives under a state law formula.
  • Choose an Executor Wisely – The executor of your estate should be someone trustworthy who also gets along with the beneficiaries of your estate. If you have two children who do not get along and they both will inherit from you, it is not a good idea to name one of them as the executor. The one not chosen might doubt that the one chosen is doing things right. Pick someone else they both trust.
  • Make a List of Personal Property – If you want specific individuals to inherit certain pieces of property from you, then write those bequests down so the executor knows. You might also want to tell your family about those bequests beforehand and why you have chosen to distribute the property in that way.

An estate planning attorney can help you avoid some of those battles.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Feb. 25, 2016) “Some Considerations To Keep In Mind To Avoid Family Estate Squabbles.”

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.