Like it or not, the average California family might not get along very well when it comes to dividing the estate of a deceased loved one. The more money and assets are involved, the more chance there will be of family disagreements. Unfortunately, the average person will greatly underestimate their family’s capacity for infighting and disagreement. It is vital to never forget this danger and to do everything possible during estate planning to ensure that the chance of bitterness, jealousy and fighting is reduced to the absolute minimum.
One strategy for reducing family arguments after death is to inform all family members about how your estate will be dividing amongst them. Having a big family meeting where all heirs are present is the best way to distribute the information. That way, everyone is on the same page, you will have a chance to explain the reason for your asset distribution decisions, and no one will be surprised or disappointed after you are gone.
Another important thing you may want to consider is to divide your assets equally among children. If you decide to give more money or assets to one child, for example, this could create jealousies, ignite sibling rivalries and inspire a challenge against the will in probate court. Worst of all, though, it could divide your family forever — which is a painful possibility to consider for most parents. Therefore, in any case where there is an unequal asset distribution, it is important to explain oneself and make sure that the division is sensible to all potential heirs involved.
Everybody knows the old adage, “you can’t take it with you,” and that is one of the main reasons why people come to the Law Office of Barbara J. Dibble to draft a will: to distribute assets the way we want after we have died. However, sometimes it may be wiser to distribute your assets in a different way than you actually want, if a different asset division strategy will help to prevent the possibility of a breakdown in family relations when you are gone. At our law firm, we always evaluate our client’s will planning goals, to ensure that those goals also fit in with the more important goal of preserving the continuity of their families.