Conflict over wills is one of the oldest tales in the book. Most people have likely heard of a family that has experienced this, if they have not gone through it themselves.
However, there are ways to reduce the conflict that can lead to fights over wills, and the steps are relatively easy.
Communicate openly while alive
Next Avenue discusses ways of passing on assets without hurting feelings. In the end, it all boils down to communication.
Parents need to communicate their intentions with their children before they die. Many people think they can just leave a letter explaining things, and that will clear up any potential misunderstandings and soothe any hurt feelings.
However, conversations revolving around estate plans are often complex and highly emotional. It can do a lot to help children understand by actually being there to answer any questions they may have, diffuse difficult situations in person, and ensure that no one has a misunderstanding of the intentions behind the will.
Build a strong estate plan
Of course, even then, it is not always possible to convey the correct message. There is always room for misinterpretation, especially if someone comes at it from an angle of bad faith. Taking these steps can reduce the risk of conflict, but cannot eliminate it entirely.
To really eliminate conflict, it is important to have an airtight will or trust. Ensure that the executor or trustee is someone well-trusted, who will not cave to pressure or serve a personal agenda.
In taking these extra steps, it is more likely that the estate’s assets will get divided and passed along with little conflict.