How can an estate plan can help reduce familial conflict over inheritances?

people sitting on couch arguing

For many, dealing with a death in the family is heart-wrenching as they are mourning the loss of a loved one. However, others may dread the familial conflict that will arise because of an estate’s owner passing. Unfortunately, this is all too common, with beneficiaries fighting over the outcome of a will. If you’re worried about your inheritors fighting over your estate upon your passing, planning your estate can help minimize the damage. Keep reading to learn how to reduce the risk of conflict with the help of Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys.

What are common reasons for familial conflict regarding inheritance?

In general, the most common cause of fighting surrounding the distribution of an estate is family members thinking others are getting more than they deserve. For example, if you have one child who is considerably more successful than your other two, they may think it’s unfair that everything is split evenly.

Another cause of tension in the distribution of a decedent’s estate is who they choose as their executor or administrator. The executor’s job is to ensure that the estate is distributed according to the wishes of its owner. However, if this party does not fulfill their duties or breaches responsibility, such as using the position for personal gain, this can cause significant issues between the beneficiaries.

Why is estate planning helpful?

Planning your estate can help reduce the risks associated with conflict surrounding your estate upon your passing. For example, if you have three children, it may be assumed they will all split your Individual Roth Account. However, if one child has a specialized interest in another item, such as an antique piece of furniture or jewelry, you may gift them that instead. This helped ensure a balance between the portions of your estate that are divided.

Similarly, if you have one child who is more successful than their siblings, you may want to leave them a smaller portion of your estate to support your other children. However, leaving them a reduced amount allows you to still gift them something while ensuring they have the funds necessary in case of an emergency.

You may also want to consider adding a no-contest clause to your will. Essentially, this means that any beneficiary who contests the terms of your will unsuccessfully must forfeit their right to the inheritance left for them.

Though it’s unpleasant to think that your death could cause issues with your family, taking the time to plan your estate carefully can help minimize conflict. However, the best way to ensure your will reflects your wishes is to enlist the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney with Friedman Schuman. Our dedicated legal team understands the complexities of this matter and will work with you to help provide the peace of mind you need. Contact us today to begin this process.

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