3 critical tips to stop inheritance disputes before they start

You want your children to stay close after you pass away. The last thing you want is for them to become embattled in a dispute over the money and assets you leave them.

If you're dedicated to putting an end to inheritance disputes before they start, use these three tips.

1. Draft an official will.

Don't leave things up to state laws, which are used when you pass away without a will. Don't just tell your kids to sort it out on their own. Write out a will and tell them exactly what they get. This keeps them, in many cases, from disputing it with each other.

2. Use a living will and consider powers of attorney.

Don't assume that all decisions will be made after you pass away. What if a disease or an accident means you can't make decisions -- like health care choices -- on your own? By using a living will and a durable power of attorney, you can ensure that your wishes are still known.

3. Consider all of your options.

Your estate doesn't have to go entirely through probate. There are other -- and sometimes easier -- ways to pass assets on. For example, you could consider using a trust instead of leaving assets directly to an heir. With a trust, you can then set up rules and regulations for how the money is distributed, ensuring there are no disputes about it.

Disputes can push heirs apart and create divisions in your family that may never heal. If you want to stop this from happening, you must know all of your legal options.

Source: FindLaw, "3 Tips for Avoiding Inheritance Disputes," Christopher Coble, accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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