Estate Division: Dos and Don’ts

Estate Division: Dos and Don’ts

Losing a loved one is never easy. Unfortunately saying goodbye isn’t the only difficult part of the process; estate division can become a costly and lengthy process, especially if it’s dragged into court. How can you avoid this?

Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Do find and read the will. Determining what the benefactor’s wishes are should be the first priority in the estate division process.
  • Do come to an agreement regarding how to equally split what isn’t laid out in the will. One common method is “The Settlement Game,” which provides heirs with the opportunity to hold a family auction to determine who keeps specific items.
  • Do try to gain an understanding of personality types involved. Although they have the same parents, two siblings will likely approach the situation very differently, so try to understand where the other person is coming from.
  • Do commit to keeping peace within the family. Although loved ones are gone, relationships between those left still matter, and keeping those a priority will help prevent dragging the matter into court.
  • Do respect what the executor decides. Ultimately, those that passed put them in charge of estate division for a reason, so respect the wishes of those that are gone and listen to the person they selected.
  • Don’t simply take items from the estate prior to finding/reading the will and coming to an agreement regarding how to split what’s left. Let everything go through the process determined by the executor and all of the heirs.

As you prepare your will, how can you avoid estate division disputes among your benefactors? eHow recommends “establishing a clear process in a legal will that is free of ambiguities or areas that can be disputed,” “begin dividing [your] estate while [you’re] still alive,” and “establish a trust.”

If you’d like additional estate planning advice, or if you’re facing estate division and need help, please contact us! Our team of lawyers can help you navigate the process smoothly and legally.

Photo Credit: Southernpixel Alby

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