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5 ways to avoid arguments over inheritance when you die

2nd September 2022 Print

Worried about your family arguing over their inheritance when you die? Here are five ways to prevent arguments after you’re gone…

Unfortunately, disagreements over inheritance are a common occurrence. This is often due to miscommunications or surprise, but disputes also naturally occur between family members or other beneficiates regarding inheritance when you die. 

Because of this, many people need the advice of a legal expert like a contentious probate solicitor. However, there are ways to reduce the chance of a disputes before it can occur.

The following five tips will provide you with some ways to prevent arguments between your beneficiates. These include… 

1. Hiring a solicitor to ensure your will is valid 

One of the most common causes of arguments over inheritance is when the Will is not considered valid. This means that the deceased’s wishes may not be taken into account, and their assets would be distributed according to their last valid Will. Alternatively, you may be considered intestate.

Unfortunately, this may mean people who the deceased had taken off their Will may stand to benefit. What’s more, individuals expecting a part of the inheritance may receive something different to what they were expecting.  

For a Will to be considered valid, it must meet certain requirements. By hiring a solicitor, you can ensure that your Will is legally valid and that your wishes regarding your assets will be upheld.

2. Telling family about their inheritance before you die

Communication is one of the best ways to avoid misunderstandings and to make it clear who will inherit any property, businesses, money, or other assets after your death. 

It is highly recommended that you spend some time speaking to your beneficiaries about your wishes and any changes you are making to your Will. This eliminates the element of surprise, and means that, in the event of an unexpected death, there is less chance of arguments occurring.

Discussing this as soon as possible is the best way to let everyone involved come to terms with your decision, and gives them the opportunity to ask you any questions they may have.

3. Hiring a trusted executor

An executor is the title given to an individual or group who is named in the Will as being responsible for your estate after you die. 

It can be difficult to choose the correct executor for the job, however it is a necessary task. Many people make this mistake of naming all of their children executors as a way of keeping things fair. Whilst this may work in some cases, in others it can lead to further arguments. 

When choosing an executor, you must be objective. The individuals chosen must be committed to the task and be willing to take on the management of your estates and other assets. 

They must be capable of navigating through the disputes of any beneficiaries and be an apt mediator. Additionally, it’s also useful if your chosen executor lives locally, or at least in the same country as you. It can be much more difficult to manage someone estates if you are living far away. Many people choose a solicitor for the job, as this can be easier than a family member or friend.


4. If possible, avoid probate

Probate refers to the process of transferring a deceased’s property to another person. If well drafted, probate may be completed with minimal disputes. However, it can take between six months to a year, and includes many court costs and additional attorney fees.

This can lead to many disputes regarding inheritance, as people grow more frustrated throughout the process. To minimise arguments, it can be beneficial in some cases to avoid using probate. There are a number of other ways that you can transfer property instead, including:

- Joint property ownership

- Death beneficiary

- Revocable Living trust

- Gifts 

5. Be specific and include details 

Finally, one of the easiest ways to avoid arguments over inheritance is to ensure that your Will is specific and includes all of the necessary details.

It may not always be possible to please everyone but, if you make it crystal clear why you have made this choice, any disgruntled individuals are more likely to accept it as they understand it is what you want. 

Speak to a solicitor if you want to include additional details in your Will. They can help ensure that your intentions are clear. 

How to avoid arguments over inheritance when you die

These five tips can help you to reduce the amount of arguments that occur regarding inheritance after you die. 

Ensure that you are taking steps to make your Will valid, openly communicate with your family and friends about your intentions, and choose your executor carefully. 

You must also remember to be specific to avoid any miscommunications and, where possible, avoid probate to minimise the amount of time and money it will take to accommodate your wishes.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a legal professional if you’re seeking advice about you Will. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

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