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5 ways to avoid family conflict around inheritance

Your family is likely to have been your greatest source of joy and support during your life, and the reason you are undertaking inheritance planning in the first place. Yet family conflicts can be exposed and deepened by estate planning that appears to favour one person over another. This can be particularly problematic where there are stepchildren. However, you also have the opportunity to set right old misunderstandings and address old rifts through the wishes expressed in your Will. Here are five points you might like to consider when inheritance planning. 1. Talk to your family. Although both you and they may not want to contemplate a time when you are no longer around, there might be matters such as ownership of specific property or caring for certain people that require agreement if arguments and resentments are to be avoided.2. Make key decisions about the funeral. Don’t leave everything to your family after your death. This is something that is particularly important if you have remarried, since there are questions of who will be involved and in what capacity, and potentially with whom you will be buried if your first spouse is dead.3. Be clear about personal property. Individual items may have specific meaning to different people. Address them separately, so there is no room for doubt. You should sign and date the list, including adequate descriptions of each item, as well as who it is for.4. Plan in advance for business transitions. These should take place gradually while you are still alive. If you’ve built up a family business then it makes sense to pass it to those members of the family who have been most involved in its success. There should be clarity in the roles given to each person.5. Keep the details of your Will private. Although there are things you may need to discuss with your family, do not let them see the full inheritance plan. This could create certain expectations and build resentments while you are still alive – and you may need to update it at some point in any case.Are there inheritance issues you need to discuss? Talk to us. We are experienced wills and probate specialists and can give you the expert guidance you need. Call 01302 320621 for personal attention – we can provide home visits if required.

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