There are many goals that can be very important to people when it comes to their estate plan. One common one is keeping peace within the family. There can be the potential for disputes to arise within a family over the distribution of the estate of a deceased loved one. These disputes can be hard on a family, emotionally and financially.
We’ll now go over a couple things that can be common sources of strife within a family after a person’s death, and what individuals can do in relation to their estate plan to prevent these things from stoking up disputes.
One thing that could lead to disputes is if family members feel they were treated unfairly in a will. Something that could potentially lead to such feelings is a parent having unequal distributions to his or her children in a will.
Now, this doesn’t mean that parents should simply not have unequal distributions. There are many sound reasons parents could have for leaving more to one of their kids than another.
Rather, it underscores how important it can be for parents to explain their reasoning to their kids when they have decided to include unequal distributions in their will. By explaining why an unequal distribution was chosen, parents might head-off hard feelings among their kids.
Individuals might think that the main potential sources of family conflict in their estate would be the big assets, such as vehicles or real estate. However, an asset doesn’t have to have a huge monetary value to trigger family strife.
People can have major emotional attachments to small pieces of personal property, like toys, knick-knacks, decorations, costume jewelry or inexpensive memorabilia. So, family members may have very strong feelings about what happens with such objects in a will. Such strong feelings could lead to particularly bitter disputes.
So, just as it can be important to give careful thought to what to do with big assets in a will, it can also be critical to give careful attention to what will happen with personal property. When deciding what to do with personal property in a will, individuals may want to ask their various family members about which objects matter a lot to them. This could help a person understand what distributions of personal property would be most likely to keep the peace within the family.