For some people, being independent and going through life alone is no big deal. No matter how big and scary the world gets, they are fine. For others, they need a little help. That help may come from a secret weapon, their family. It is a natural wonder just how important family can be to some. For those people however, there is one thing that can disrupt all that family harmony. A lack of estate planning.

The sight of family members sitting around a table arguing bitterly over an inheritance has long been a common occurrence. A new poll showed 44 percent of those assisting families in estate planning said the biggest threat to estates and inheritances is family conflicts.

Why all the tension around inheritance?

  • Family members expectations too high
  • No prior communication to family members about asset distribution
  • Tension already exists within the family

If you want to avoid the struggles and arguments of your estate, use these tips to help keep the peace.

Draft an estate plan

When you draft an estate plan you will ensure that all your assets are divided as you want them to be. Waiting too long to get your estate planning in order can cause disruption within a family for a long time after your death. Music star Prince did not have a will at the time of his passing and his family is still waiting on how the assets will be divided up over two years later.

Communicate with family about your estate plan

Leaving family members in the dark is one of the main reasons there are squabbles and fighting around estate planning. It is a good idea to be proactive and let your beneficiaries in on the details that pertain to them in your estate plan. Changes in your family structure through death or divorce and new laws that affect the estate tax are good times to review your plan. After you complete those reviews, discuss any changes with your family. You may even be surprised how much the kids want to be part of that discussion.

It is easy to put off estate planning. Be kind to your family and work to get your estate in order as soon as possible. It may be an easy way to keep anger, confusion and fighting away from the family.