Will My Family Fight Over My Estate?

Being part of a family can be difficult at the best of times, but when a loved one dies, it can become twice as hard to keep the peace. Grief and loss is made even worse when inheritance feuds rear their ugly head and arguments and disagreements over how to settle the estate can destroy a family.

How can you avoid your family fighting over your estate?

Talking Before Writing

Before you write your will and solidify your estate plan, it’s important to sit your children and heirs down and talk to them about what you want. This gives you the chance to determine if there are any things which you think are insignificant but which are especially meaningful for some reason to one particular family member.

If one person, for example, has a particular piece of jewellery or personal possession that they specifically want as a memento, this is the time to find out about it and to make arrangements for that to happen, either beforehand or as part of the will.

Updating Paperwork

These days, more of us are getting divorced and remarried, often several times. With so much going on, it’s often easy to forget who you have already specified as your beneficiaries in your will, pension, trusts and policies. This could be an absolute disaster when the time comes if you haven’t updated your paperwork to reflect your current circumstances.

Always review your beneficiaries regularly on your pension plan, life insurance policy and any trusts that you hold to ensure that your wishes will be properly reflected. You may well not want your ex-partner to gain ownership of your property, dispossessing your current spouse.

Make Your Plans Early

It’s never too early to start planning for what you want to happen after you die. Even if you think that you’re too young and you’ve got years left to plan in, nobody knows what’s around the corner.

Creating your plan when you’re in sound mind and fit and healthy is the best idea since, if you wait until you become ill or suffer from a serious accident to start your estate plan, there’s a chance you may not be thinking clearly and therefore make poor decisions, and, in a worst case scenario, there may even be a case to challenge the legality of the paperwork.

Get Professional Legal Advice

You should never try to make your plans alone. Seek legal advice from a professional so that you can steer clear of any difficulties or legal problems which could arise in the future and which could cause further challenges or disagreements from family members.

Matters such as jointly owned properties or shared bank accounts need to be handled properly in order to avoid issues.

Being Fair

One main cause of disagreements among family members doesn’t come necessarily from assets not being divided equally, but more from fairness. For example, if one child has been responsible for the sole care of their parent may well believe they deserve a larger share of their inheritance, and this could well be fair.

Making sure that items are given to those who would appreciate them most, perhaps because of their particular interests or because of the memories that those items hold is more fair than dividing assets solely based on monetary value and will reduce the chances of a dispute arising after you’re gone.

Nobody wants to think of their family arguing and fighting when they are gone. Instead, they want their memory to be cherished and their family members to grow closer together during their time of loss. The best way to do this is to pre-plan and even pre-pay your funeral and to have a clearly outlined legal will so that there will be no possibility of disagreements when the time comes.

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