Family Feud: Avoiding Legal Inheritance Disputes

When it comes to your last will and testament, doling out your personal possessions can be an emotional and difficult thing to do. Once you've gone, how can you be sure your children and other family members will get the correct items and benefits you've requested? Family inheritance disputes can get rather nasty and lead to long, drawn-out court battles. Fortunately, there are some things you can do in advance to ensure that these types of problems don't occur after you're gone.

Talk It Out

Before you see an attorney about your will, talk to your children about the things that mean the most to them. Have everyone sit down together and come up with an amicable agreement as to who will get what once you've passed. By having this conversation in advance, you'll have a clearer picture of who truly wants that special piece of china or which necklace your daughter really has her heart set on. Get a list together of which items will be left to whom so you can have this specifically drafted on paper to keep it legal. This is a great way to avoid potential disputes later on since everyone will clearly state which things they'd truly like to inherit.

Choose Your Executor With Care

An executor is a person legally responsible for making sure that your final wishes per your last will and testament are carried out. Many people choose one of their children to be the executor, but if there are several siblings in your family, this can potentially become an issue. Instead, look for a professional who can remain objective after you pass and assign them as the official executor of your will. This person can be an attorney, a close family friend, or a private firm who can ensure that your wishes are carried out without getting emotionally involved. 

Stay Updated

As major events happen in your life such as buying a new home or getting new profits from investments, your will may need to be updated. It's a good idea to update the paperwork every two to three years so you're sure everything is included. When you come into new items like new vehicles or money from a 401(k), if it's not mentioned in the will, it could become an item for contention after you pass. Meet with your lawyer every few years or so in order to add new items to the will to make sure it's all legally written down to avoid any litigation in the future. 

For more information, contact a firm such as The Law Offices of John G. McGill, Jr.