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How to stop heirs from fighting over an inheritance

The idea behind most estate plans is to clearly indicate what will happen to a testator’s various assets. Unfortunately, some beneficiaries get upset with what their beloved family member left them and they feel that other heirs may have received items that they think should have gone to them. The result is a squabble that can blow up into a full blown legal quarrel. So here are some steps testators can take to help prevent heirs from fighting over their inheritance.

One of the first things a testator can do is to simply ask those family members who will be listed as beneficiaries if there are specific assets that have value to them. By knowing what is important to them, the testator can rest assured that they are leaving family members items that will be treasured. And if the values of any these assets that are distributed to the heirs are unequal, the testator can provide additional monies for that heir in order to make sure that every heir receives an equal portion of the assets.

Another step a testator can take to prevent squabbles is to use a bank, financial institution or attorney to act as an executor of the estate. Removing heirs as an executor can help prevent arguments, especially if family members have a hard time getting along with one another. Since an institution or an attorney will not show favoritism toward any one heir, this is one less reason for any heir to express their displeasure over the use of another family member as executor.

A testator can also include a no contest clause in their estate documents that says that any heir that tries to contest their estate will forfeit their share of the assets. However, any Florida individual who thinks that their heirs may fight over their estate may want to speak to an estate planning attorney in order find out about other strategies that may stop heirs from fighting over an estate.

Source: wsj.com, “Sibling rivalry complicates estate planning“, Accessed September 4, 2016

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