Although you cannot ensure that everyone concerned will agree on every element of estate administration, there are several steps you may take to prevent inheritance conflicts.
Inheritance disputes may exacerbate the trauma of losing a loved one for you and your family. Friends and family members may disagree on how to manage the decedent’s inheritance, which may lead to tensions and rifts, as well as expensive and time-consuming litigation. While it is impossible to ensure that everyone concerned will agree on every element of estate administration, there are certain steps you may take to prevent inheritance conflicts.
Respect the Will’s Contents
First and foremost, follow the provisions of the last will and testament. For one thing, it is a legally binding document, thus the executor must follow the instructions. For another, the last will and testament explains your loved one’s last intentions; just as you may not have always agreed with them in life, you may not agree with their choices now, but you must accept their decisions. However, if the last will and testament is silent on a particular issue of dispute, you must depend on the executor’s discretion. (or, if an executor was not named, the probate court-appointed estate administrator).
Prepare to Make Compromises
You must be willing to compromise in any estate arrangement. Remember that you are not the only one who had a connection with the departed, and everyone’s requirements varies somewhat. Consider giving up your claim to a portion of the property in exchange for the portions or assets you want, or offer to buy someone out of their share. Consider why you desire that piece of furniture or if that piece of jewelry is really worth battling for. Emotions over the loss of a loved one might cause you to behave in ways you would not normally do, and this also applies to your family. Remember to be patient, since everyone else is going through the same thing.
Arbitration and mediation
If you and your family members are unable to reach an agreement, try mediation or arbitration before proceeding to court. It is less expensive than litigation and has the potential to preserve family connections. A mediator convenes the parties, encourages them to address their differences, and attempts to persuade all parties to agree on a final solution by giving advise and recommending compromises. Arbitration, on the other hand, is more binding and may be a preferable alternative in more contentious issues if neither party is willing to compromise. The neutral arbitrator hears all parties and decides on the ultimate settlement. Unlike mediation, where the parties are already attempting to compromise and no agreement is enforceable, the battling parties agree to adhere by the arbitrator’s ultimate ruling from the start since they recognize they cannot settle the matter themselves.
Visit Probate Court.
If arbitration and mediation have failed, your only remaining alternative is to file an inheritance dispute in probate court. You may also move to probate court if you disagree with the executor’s handling of the estate or if you feel the will is invalid. (for example, your grandmother was not of sound mind when she wrote it, or your stepfather had undue influence). At this point, you’ll need the assistance of a probate lawyer to help you resolve the disagreement. Write a clear and complete final will and testament to help your loved ones avoid any disagreements.