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The Tolstoy adage “Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” is not one you wish to have applied to your family if you can help it. If you have children who are estranged from each other or are unwilling or incapable of communicating with each other, your decisions in your estate plan may cause more grief than relief.
A example of avoidable strife can be found in the story of a woman who died in 1988. She bequeathed a vacation home to her four adult children. That seems simple enough. However, they could not come to a consensus regarding what to do with the property and argued about it…for 17 years and through three lawsuits.
If your children already have trouble communicating with each other and you pass away without establishing an estate plan that addresses their individual needs, then the possibility for a contentious dispute increases.
Here are some strategies to keep your family from going down this road:
The guiding principle should be crafting a plan that puts a stop to potential disputes before they start. A solid estate plan takes away the opportunity to disagree and allows all sides to accept what has been settled.