One of the biggest priorities for people making plans for their estates is trying to avoid having their families fight over those estates. Anyone who has ever been through a family fight over an estate knows how bitter they can become and that they often destroy family relationships for life.
It is not always possible to ensure that your family will not argue about your estate, but if you are one of the many who has that as a goal, there are a few steps that you can take as discussed by the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in "Some Considerations To Keep In Mind To Avoid Family Estate Squabbles."
The suggestions include:
Get a Will – Many family fights start because the deceased does not have a proper will and has instead made conflicting promises to individual family members. For example, that they can have this or that piece of property. Without a will, however, by law everything goes to the closest living relatives under a state law formula.
Choose an Executor Wisely – The executor of your estate should be someone trustworthy who also gets along with the beneficiaries of your estate. If you have two children who do not get along and they both will inherit from you, it is not a good idea to name one of them as the executor. The one not chosen might doubt that the one chosen is doing things right. Pick someone else they both trust.
Make a List of Personal Property – If you want specific individuals to inherit certain pieces of property from you, then write those bequests down so the executor knows. You might also want to tell your family about those bequests beforehand and why you have chosen to distribute the property in that way.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Feb. 25, 2016) "Some Considerations To Keep In Mind To Avoid Family Estate Squabbles."