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Planning Ahead

10 Mar

I was talking to someone I’m very close to the other day and she told me that her way of distributing things, like art and furniture, among her children when she passed away, was to leave a sticky  on it indicating which child it would go to.

last_will_and_testamentHmmm – I thought to myself … that plan will likely be fraught with conflict when implemented. I figure that it might be pretty challenging to guess in advance, which piece goes to which child, especially since she wasn’t talking to all of them ahead of time.

So, how could the potential fighting be reduced?

I can think of 2 ways.

The first would be preferable to me, because I guess I would want to be part of the conversation.  I would hire a mediator, even if all of my children got along great, to facilitate a conversation about the division of those belonging that meant a lot to me. Why? Because I could explain my thoughts and feelings too – just like my family would be able to do.  And the process might get emotional and then we would have the mediator to help things be future focused.

I guess it’s possible that someone may not want to be participate in a conversation like the one I described above. So, I have another idea. What about including mediation as part of your will?

I did a little searching online and found an awesome clause to include in your will. I give all the credit for this to a mediator, named Danny Gelb, from New Zealand. His suggested verbiage goes like this:

In the unlikely event that there should be any disagreement or dispute of this will after my passing I would be deeply disappointed if the estate that I have left for the benefit of my family and/or other beneficiaries would result in any negative impact on the relationships among them. Therefore, it is my eager wish and directive that any such disagreement or dispute be resolved with the utmost civility, decency and consideration, and that all parties resolve it by mediation in good faith through the use of a neutral third party. It would be to my profound and eternal sorrow that what I have provided in the interest of benefiting my loved ones would lead to any injury to their relationship. To this end it is my wish that the executor of my estate arrange for the mediation and pay such costs directly from my estate.

I just love how proactive this concept is and how sensitive it is to wanting to preserve the family.

So … I offer it as food for thought, for you to consider too.

Jeanette

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