When loved ones pass away, many Philadelphia families are thrown into states of turmoil. During the weeks to follow, family members can become embroiled in conflicts over who will get what. While most people assume that an inheritance dispute is reserved for assets with significant value, the reality is that loved ones often argue over belongings that hold little monetary value but have significant sentimental value.
The best way to protect against family strife is to create a comprehensive plan for distributing items of personal property. A good place to begin is to simply ask each family member what he or she would like to have and compile a list. If there are items in dispute, decisions must be made as to who will get what, and those decisions should be confirmed in writing, with copies given to all parties.
If there are many items in dispute, it may make more sense to structure a system by which loved ones can choose which items they would like to have when the time comes. Loved ones could assemble after a period of time has passed and take turns selecting items to keep. This approach forces family members to prioritize their selections and is a fair way to resolve disputes.
No matter which method is chosen, Philadelphia families must put their decisions into writing. Those documents should be stored in the same place as the rest of the estate planning paperwork, so that they are accessible when the time comes. While it may seem odd to make provisions for minor items of personal property, doing so can reduce the risk of an inheritance dispute and help families grieve without additional stress.
Source: The Huffington Post, “3 Simple Tips For Planning Your Estate“, Erris Langer Klapper, Feb. 11, 2016