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How can I reduce the chance of inheritance conflict in my family?

Reducing the chances of an inheritance conflict after you have died should be of paramount concern during the planning of any California estate. Indeed, a death in a family can be the impetus for even the friendliest of relations to turn sour if one or more family member feels that he or she was unfairly treated by your will and asset distribution plan. In other cases, it might not have anything to do with your estate plan, but more to do with past emotional scars that the pain and loss of a beloved family member can re-open. This article will discuss some strategies that estate planners can employ to reduce the chance of family conflict following your death.

First, create a special list in which you state who various items of personal property will go to. Sometimes, it isn't the monetary value of a particular item that sparks a family feud but the sentimental value. Indeed, families have been torn apart simply because a cherished piece of furniture -- with little monetary value -- is desired by two different family members. If you don't write down who is going to get what, this kind of thing could blow up into an unfortunate rift in the family. This list is usually called a Personal Property Memorandum, and it can be typed or handwritten as an addendum to the will, but it must also be signed by you.

Second, consider discussing your estate distribution plan with your heirs. By holding a family meeting and telling family members directly how you plan to distribute your assets and why, you can put everyone on the same page. This way, your asset distribution plan will not come as a surprise, family members will know it was your express wish, and they will be less likely to disagree with it when you are no longer available to explain your decisions to them.

These are just two things you can do to prevent family disagreements after you are gone. There are many more, so you may wish to speak with a California estate planning attorney before finalizing your estate to ensure that you have limited the chances of a family dispute as much as possible.

Source: American Assocation of Individual Investors, "18 Recommendations for Minimizing Inheritance Conflict," Mark Accettura, accessed April 01, 2016

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