Inheritance: 4 Strategies to Avoid Fights


Whether you are putting your life savings in an investment account, writing a letter to your family about disinheriting your children, or putting tags on your items to prevent them from being “stolen” by family members, there are a number of steps you can take to avoid fighting over inheritance.

Disinheriting a child

Choosing to disinherit a child is not an easy decision. There are a variety of reasons that you may want to take this action. However, you should always consult one of the attorneys at Narrows Law Group before making this decision.

Whether you are disinheriting a child or someone else, it is important to make sure that you are aware of your legal rights. If you are unsure of what your rights are, it is always best to consult a probate litigation lawyer.

Disinheriting a child is legal in most states. In some states, such as Louisiana, it is prohibited. If you wish to disinherit an adult child, you must include the disinheritance in your will. Then, the courts will decide on the amount of inheritance to award to the child.

Putting tags on items

Putting tags on your most important items, like files, emails and tasks is a no brainer, so why not apply the same organizational process to your assets. Getting your family members together before you finalize your will so they can discuss and divide the items that hold sentimental value to each of them can head off any negative feelings upon your death.  Putting simple adhesive labels on items or creating a list where the items are listed and recipients are memorialized is all it takes to avoid big arguments and hurt feelings.

Writing a letter

Keeping your family happy is a noble goal, and one you can accomplish by writing a letter to avoid fighting over inheritance. The best way to do this is to explain the pros and cons of any potential property or asset distribution in plain English. It’s also a good idea to set up a family meeting and enlist the help of an impartial third party like an estate-planning attorney from Narrows Law Group. Having an advocate on your side can make a world of difference in reducing the chances of future litigation.

Adding a no-contest clause

Adding a no-contest or terrorem clause to your inheritance is a common estate-planning feature that can help avoid fighting among family members over your estate. A no-contest clause is a statement added to your will that says that anyone who challenges your will will not receive anything. This deters beneficiaries from challenging your will.

While a no-contest clause can help avoid fights, they also can have unexpected negative consequences. If your family member or heir wants to contest your will, they will need to file a formal legal challenge. This can cost you money and time. It’s important that you understand the repercussions of probate court, especially if you are a litigant.

In some states, no-contest clauses are not enforceable. In other states, like Washington, there are exceptions that allow for them. 

If you have any questions about creating a will or need help with estate planning, give the professional attorneys at Narrows Law Group a call.