Unfortunately, it is common for families to fight over estates. They might argue over who gets specific pieces of property or whether the will is even valid. Once you pass away, you want your loved ones to be happy – not having contentious arguments. If you want to reduce the chances of your heirs fighting, you can follow some simple steps.
Through thorough estate planning and clear communication, you can avoid litigation over your estate. Keep reading for tips on preventing inheritance battles.
1. Create an estate plan
The first step is creating a will or trust. Without an estate plan in place, the probate process can be much more complicated and contentious. Once you draw up your estate plan, communicate with your children about the basics of it. Set your children straight early on so there are no surprises after you die.
2. Aim for equal distribution
One of the main causes of inheritance fights is perceived unfair divisions. If one of your children feels left out, he or she may squabble with siblings. While it can be difficult to equate inheritances precisely, resist the urge to give an unreasonably unequal amount to a child who is most needy. You do not want to contribute to any resentment among your heirs.
3. Choose an executor carefully
You might instinctively want to designate one of your children as an executor. Many people choose the oldest child to serve this role. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it can lead to confusion and feelings of jealousy. You may want to consider a neutral third party to handle your estate.
By following these three tips to avoid estate litigation, you make the future easier for your children. It also gives you peace of mind. While you cannot foresee every argument or mishap, you can significantly reduce conflict by taking some proactive steps. For more help, contact an estate litigation attorney.