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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

How to avoid will disputes

Every adult should create a will laying out where assets and money will go to upon the writer's death. While the individual should do everything in his or her power to ensure it is a fair and equitable division of assets, disputes can arise from anything. Sometimes siblings, children or spouses feel left out or feel they should receive more. 

When writing wills, people should be cognizant of how this paperwork can affect loved ones. Therefore, it is prudent to take actions before death to ensure there is no ill will in the future between family members. 

Discuss will with family members beforehand

A will does not have to be secret. The person writing it can go over the fine details with family members to explain why certain people receive specific assets. For example, a person with three children may leave the house to specifically one because the other two already have houses of their own, and the one child struggles with housing. People may still want certain assets, but at least they have a clear understanding of what their parent thought during the will-writing process. 

Keep family updated

A will should not be a stagnant document. People should update their wills regularly, and every time a person updates a will, he or she should inform loved ones of any changes. 

Leave to children equally

With the exception of assets that can only reasonably go to one person, parents should leave an equal amount of money to each child they have. Perhaps the parent has a good reason for giving more to one child, such as one child making good money as a doctor while another struggles financially. However, this can still create hurt feelings and resentment. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if one child has a disability, then he or she may require more money to remain self-sufficient. In this case, the other children are more likely to understand the discrepancy. 

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