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How to prevent family infighting after you're gone

Davidson families are tight, and there are usually one or two members of the family who serve as the "glue" that keeps everyone together and getting along. If you are the "glue" for your family, you might be wondering what will happen to them after you're gone. Will they still get along and spend lots of time together? Or, will they start to bicker and fight, or simply drift apart?

The sad truth is that it's not uncommon for families to go through a difficult period of adjustment after a key member passes away. Especially if you're planning to leave behind an inheritance for your loved ones, your family runs the risk of getting into arguments and disagreements about who gets what. It doesn't matter how clear you are in your will, if one person feels slighted, the argument could trigger a lawsuit and lifelong feuds.

You can do your best to fairly treat family members with your asset distribution plan. For example, you might leave each of your five children exactly 20 percent of your estate. However, what if you were especially generous financially with one or two children while you were alive? The other children could feel like they deserve more inheritance because they never asked for money while you were alive. Alternatively, you might distribute the estate unequally to compensate the children you never gave much money to, and the ones who receive less of your estate could feel slighted.

The best way to avoid all these difficulties is to communicate with your heirs before you die. Tell them openly about your estate plan, how you want to divide your assets among them and why you've decided to do it that way. When your heirs understand -- straight from your mouth -- exactly what your wishes were, it will drastically eliminate the chances that they will fight or get angry at one another after you've died.

If you need help planning your estate in a way that will keep the glue of your family intact following your death, the law office of Mary C. Lagrone can assist you. Our estate planning team will review your family's situation to identify the best asset distribution strategies to suit your needs.

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