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One way to help avoid an inheritance dispute

For many Philadelphia families, estate planning is a complicated affair. Often, parents wish to divide their savings and assets between their surviving children, but that division is not always equal. Passing along an unbalanced inheritance can cause a great deal of family strife, but there is a simple way to lessen the chance that siblings will engage in a lengthy and bitter inheritance dispute.

Once the decision-making process is complete, the next step is to gather the family together to discuss the overall estate plan. Each family is unique, and some will choose to include the spouses of each child, while others will limit this meeting to immediate family only. No matter who is invited to attend, both parents need to be on the same page about what level of input is going to be accepted. Will this be a meeting in which parents tell their kids what has already been decided, or is it a meeting where the kids are asked to provide their input on the matter?

Once the family is gathered, parents should be prepared for an emotional reaction from their adult children. In some cases, children will become angry about various choices that were made. For others, simply discussing the inevitable death of their parents will bring up emotions that are difficult to contain. No matter why emotions rise, it is important to try and keep everyone relatively calm and cooperative.

It can also be helpful to plan a positive end to the meeting. Whether it is a family meal or a game night, this time together should begin and end with a sense of family. That approach gives everyone present a reminder of the importance of their family connection, which can go a long way toward preventing an inheritance dispute in Philadelphia courts when the time comes to call one's estate plan into action.

Source: agriculture.com, "Communicating an Estate Plan to Heirs", Myron Friesen, March 29, 2016

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