Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Some Considerations To Keep In Mind To Avoid Family Estate Squabbles

WillsAvoiding family fights over estate issues is often a priority for those making plans for the distribution of their assets after death. But even with the best of intentions, there are many considerations that must be taken into account in order to avoid long and burdensome battles. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Creating a will is an absolute must for any individual that seeks to have their estate distributed to anyone but close family members. Intestate succession controls otherwise and is simply a statutory distribution scheme that takes no account of any factor but familial connections. Promises mean nothing in this circumstance so a will can avoid much anger after death by giving everyone what they were told.
  • When choosing an executor, make sure that all beneficiaries are good with the choice. The executor will have tremendous power when distributing an estate and choosing a person that is not going to get along with most creates a breeding ground for ill feelings and estate litigation.
  • When certain items pass to specific individuals, it is a good idea to include letters that detail the specific asset to help the executor and preempt challenges from those left out. In addition, having family meetings where everyone understands who gets what and get a chance to say their peace about the distribution can help sooth feelings and prevent disputes after death.

See Barbara E. Weltman, Avoiding 4 Common Causes of Family Estate Fights, Investopedia, February 24, 2016.


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