When Family Feuds: How to Prepare Your Estate and Prevent Fights

The passing of a beloved family member or friend can impact people in many ways. Some of the most grief-stricken are eager to mourn and move on. Others may experience anger or frustration after a loss. While there is no right way to grieve, death has a way of bringing out both the best and worst of people. Squabbles over the deceased’s estate are all too common. Money and belongings are the leading cause of conflict in families following a loss.

In some cases, there may be tension over when to begin sorting through the home and belongings of the person who passed. Some people are ready to take care of this task right away, while others may need a few weeks to process their loss first. Debates may also break out over what to keep and what to give away. Whether to keep or sell the house is another common cause of conflict.
Everyone grieves differently.

If you’re hoping to minimize the potential for fighting after you pass, though, you’ll want to take steps now. Avoid fights over your will, belongings, and assets by prioritizing estate planning while you’re still healthy. Even if you believe your family will behave well in the wake of your passing, outlining your wishes ahead of time is never a bad idea.

Meet with an estate planning attorney to appoint someone as the executor of your will. Many opt to appoint their oldest child, but the choice should be based on who is organized, hardworking and honest. You’ll also do well to select someone is a good communicator. There’s less of a chance of fighting if everyone is kept in the loop.
Another tip for preventing fights over your inheritance

Avoid any unpleasant surprises your family might not expect. Disappointment over who inherits the family heirloom or a smaller share of the estate may cause tension between loved ones. As you draw up your estate plans, meet with your relatives one on one to discuss the inheritance you intend to leave them. A simple explanation can mitigate the fall out over your choices.

Of course, an experienced estate planning attorney is a key component to all of these recommendations. Consult one every time you experience a major life change so your estate plans can be updated accordingly. The last thing you’d want to do is get married and leave your new spouse out of your will, or have a grandchild and forget to include them in your plans.

Grief is complex. Minimize the odds of having your estate cause further stress on your bereaved loved ones by meeting with an estate planning lawyer today, 501.221.7776.

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