Family Feud may be a fun gameshow to watch on television, but it’s not something you want to develop in the context of an estate. Unfortunately, family conflicts surrounding probate and estates can be quite common. In some cases, relationships among siblings, cousins, and even surviving parents and children are irrevocably damaged. The good news is that you can minimize the likelihood of these conflicts through advanced planning.
Anticipate Sibling Rivalry
In many cases, disagreements develop among adult siblings. Contrary to what many people believe, these disagreements don’t always center on money. For example, two siblings may wish to claim a particular set of dishes or a piece of furniture as a memento of a deceased parent. Although an item may not possess much monetary value, its sentimental value can make it desirable to more than one person. Parents can avoid these conflicts by discussing items with all of their children. Ideally, parents should talk to adult children as a group to ensure that everyone understands who will receive certain items.
Don’t Assume People Will Play Fair
A common pitfall people make is to assume that one relative will fairly distribute property or assets to the rest of the family. This is especially common when an older person has spent time with a caretaker who is also a close relative. The individual dies assuming that the caretaker relative will simply distribute assets and property in a fair manner. Unfortunately, reality is often far different. With an estate plan, your wishes and plans are clearly laid out.
Make a Personal Connection with Each Family Member
Most people value relationships as much as they do money and material things. As you create your estate plan, reach out to each family member to explain how you are dividing your property. If possible, select specific sentimental items you feel are appropriate for that person and tell him or her why you are giving him or her that piece of property. This prevents surprises and prepares your loved ones for what they can expect after you pass away.
Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate Law Firm
Have questions about your estate plan? Call the Minnesota probate and estate planning attorneys at Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC today our office today to learn more and to discuss your options.
This website has been prepared by Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.