Wiser Wealth: How To Stop A Family Fight Over Your Inheritance

Wealth Distribution

Nobody likes thinking about losing a family member, but unfortunately it is necessary when it comes to money. A lack of a plan will inevitably lead to fighting with the other family members over who gets what.

Whether you are concerned about your own legacy, or want to encourage an older relative to start considering these matters, it spares a lot of stress to consider the inheritance now. Yahoo Finance shared strategies for how to avoid butting heads with your relatives when it comes time to dole out your remaining assets.

The very least you should do to plan in advance is to have a will. Having this document prepared in advance will give surviving relatives explicit instructions on who is in charge of the estate, and which family members receive what. This alone will save a lot of squabbling.

A more thorough step could be to also have a trust when thinking about young heirs who are not yet old enough to make important financial decisions. This keeps their money safe until they are of legal age to use it wisely.

As awkward as it might be, it can also be beneficial to outright have a family meeting where it will be laid out what is being left to who. This averts any shocking surprises when it comes time to read the will and allows everyone to set their expectations beforehand.

Fred Hubler, Chief Wealth Strategist for Phoenixville-based Creative Capital Wealth Management Group which services wealthy families in 28 states and specializes in retainer-based planning and alternative investment strategies, suggests a family meeting to go over at a high level how things are set up and where things go at the loved ones passing.

“I have been privileged to host several of these family meetings,” said Hubler. “We show how things currently are and where they go when the parents pass away. Traditionally we do this without any numbers attached to the holdings, but some clients want the numbers as well as the process.”  

The “little things” are where I’ve seen the biggest family squabbles. I know of siblings who didn’t talk for years because of who they thought should get the silverware set. We suggest to our clients they talk about the little stuff now while they are alive to mitigate any issue.

Lastly, the most important job of you as the person delegating your inheritance is to do it fairly. That does not mean everyone receives equal assets, but it does mean not blindsiding anyone.

While it might make for an entertaining twist in movies, nobody in real life will enjoy you using your Will to be spiteful towards old grudges in the family. If you have a legitimate reason to not leave a family member what they expect, it would be best to inform them of that fact in advance.

A death in the family will be painful enough for those who live on. Do what you can to ease further grief by getting your affairs in order now.

For more considerations when planning out a will, and your inheritance, read what else Yahoo Finance recommends here.


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