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Fighting ’til there’s nothing left

23 Mar

Now this is an amazing statistic. According to some research done 20 years ago (by the Williams Group), 70% of families will lose some of their inherited wealth to (mostly) estate battles.

In fact, sometimes, more money is funneled to the lawyers than is even there to inherit in the first place!

Seems crazy, doesn’t it?

So here are a few tips that the experts advise to think about to avoid these battles among your heirs.

  • Communicate … communicate … communicate – Make a list of your assets and think about how you would like to divide them up. Seek input by bringing your family together and explaining your rationale. You never know, you might find out that something you always thought your daughter wanted is really more coveted by your son. It will also give you a chance to explain your thought process in making your decisions. This will also give you a chance to explain why your friend next door, who who feel helped you more than anyone in your family when your husband died, will inherit his Steinway she played to keep you company.
  • Consider some alternative approaches – Greedy-heirs-fighting-over-grandmothers-inheritanceHere’s an example – get everything appraised after your death and allow your heirs to ‘bid” on them (based on a formula you devise – for example, your 3 children might each get 25% and your 4 grandchildren share the remaining 25%). Whatever is left … that no one wants … can be sold and the money divided up.
  • Choose a neutral person – Often a family member (the eldest, the business person or the one who is perceived to be the ‘best’ with money) is chosen to be executor of the estate. Perhaps choosing someone who isn’t a beneficiary of the estate might be the better alternative. That person will be perceived as not having a vested interest.

Perhaps these ideas will help your heirs avoid fighting ’til there’s nothing left.

Jeanette

P.S. If you find this topic interesting, you might enjoy another post: Planning Ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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