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NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Avoiding a Family Feud After Your Death

What steps can you take to decrease the risk that your loved ones will fight over your estate?

It happens all too often. A person dies and their children go to war over the estate. One claims she was promised the silver and another stakes a claim for an antique piece of furniture and things spiral out of control. The death of a loved one is a trying time so we can understand how emotions can run high. But, you want your children to all feel like they were treated fairly in the time following your death. So, what can you do?

Family communication is key. As soon as you decide to create an estate plan, you should gather your loved ones and sit them all down for an important discussion. Let your family know what you are thinking in terms of their inheritances and see if this provokes any reaction. Being open about the process is an important part in making it run as smoothly as possible.

You should also inquire as to what your children want or believe they should get after you leave this world. But, remember that asking them does not mean that you have to abide by their every wish. You have to think about every option and decide what you think is best.

Try to be fair. This means that leaving assets that hold the same economic value to each beneficiary. Get things appraised to find out what they are worth if you are unsure. This will avoid one party feeling as though they were cheated financially.

Most importantly, you want to be as detailed as possible as to what your wishes are. Make it perfectly clear what each beneficiary will receive so that there are no ambiguities in your plan. This will leave less room for contests at the time of distribution.

Some suggest writing a letter to each beneficiary to be read at the time the will is probated. You can use this letter to give some insight into your decisions and to explain to your beneficiaries that you tried to be as fair as possible throughout the process.

If you are considering doing some estate planning, you should contact an experienced North and South Carolina estate planning attorney today.

 


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