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4 ways to keep the peace when writing a will

Posted on October 3, 2018

Occasional fighting in a relationship is normal. Families, large and small, run into such conflicts. Money is often the root cause of disputes. It’s easy to see why dealing with inheritances and estate plans get complicated. To decrease the chances of a family feud, there are some steps you can take to ensure your will addresses common issues.

  1. Have a family meeting. There is a good chance your family has expectations for what your estate plan will look like. While you can sit down and go over the basics with them, there is no need to go into every detail. At the end of the day, division of your assets is up to you. Explain certain plans, such as setting money aside for college tuition and other accommodations.
  2. Choose your executor wisely. An executor is given the legal responsibility to handle your finances after you die.The person you choose plays an extremely important role. It’s normal to pick a family member, such as your spouse or child. However, having a personal relationship with someone should not always be the deciding factor. Consider a person who you know is responsible, organized and ethical.
  3. Consider personal property. Everyone differs when placing values on things. A personal item may seem small to you, but means more to a family member. Remember to add other property into the will, such as jewelry, furniture, books or other treasured items. It’s sometimes hard to predict or avoid disputes. You can also inform the executor to sell any item that causes a fight to break out among the family.
  4. Explain what “equal” means. In most cases, it’s wise to divide your estate equally. It’s tempting to give less to your children who are well-off. However, one child receiving more than the other can cause hurt and resentment. In the long run, things are better left equally. If you strongly feel that an equal distribution is not beneficial, discuss it with your family ahead of time.

It’s not always possible to make everyone happy. Each family member has expectations, and some may be disappointed by the details in your will. Regardless, it’s in your hands. Communication is a key part of the process.