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Tips on preventing an inheritance dispute while you are alive

You have a close-knit family, but you may have heard the adage that says the worst sometimes comes out in people who are grieving. This can, unfortunately, be true. It may not be unusual for some Colorado families to fight over their parents’ belongings immediately after the funeral, instead of letting the executor of the will handle it.

You would prefer that your loved ones remember happy memories of you instead of arguing over your fine china, but how do you ensure there won’t be a will dispute? You may have a solid will, but it does not guarantee your loved ones will agree on every point. The following tips might help you preserve the family harmony you love, while making sure your relatives receive the inheritance you intended for them:

  • Call an informal family meeting and explain your wishes to each family member. When they hear it from you personally, your wishes may have more significance to them.
  • Discuss which items your family members would like to keep as mementos to remember you by. Make a list of your collectibles, jewelry, designer clothing, silverware and other items and put your family members’ names by each item, then include the list in your will.
  • Consider gifting some of these items to your relatives personally. This not only ensures the item goes to its intended recipient, but lets you see them enjoy the gifts.
  • Name an executor you can trust to carry out your wishes to the letter in your will. If you are concerned that family members may enter your home to take your possessions while you are incapacitated or after you are deceased, inform your executor to change the locks on your house when it is reasonable, and to keep the only keys.

Solid, fair estate planning combined with communication and trust may raise the chances of your loved ones continuing to get along after you are gone.

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