Inheritance disputes can be time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally taxing on the surviving family. Fortunately, proper estate planning can help reduce and even prevent disputes from happening.

How to avoid inheritance disputes

  • Talk openly and honestly with family members about your wishes and plans, especially with your children and stepchildren.
  • Don’t wait to set up a comprehensive estate plan.
  • Attempt to divide your estate fairly among surviving relatives, and be open about any family estrangements.
  • State your reasons for why you’re dividing your estate the way you are in the will or by including a letter of instruction, especially if
  • you’re not dividing assets equitably.
  • Talk to family members ahead of time about any items they want for sentimental reasons and make those wishes known to everyone involved.
  • Make the difference between family loans and gifts clear.
  • Avoid joint ownership.
  • Keep your will and estate planning up-to-date and consult an estate planning attorney as needed to ensure your will complies with state requirements.
  • Include a no-contest clause in the will to discourage having it contested.
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