It’s a sad but common story. Grandpa dies with three adult children. One of the son shows up at Grandpa’s house the next day with a trailer and before the other siblings are aware, takes everything he thinks are his. This basically happy family now spends time and money fighting over who gets what, and the stress of loosing a parent is made much worse. Often this fight begins over small, inexpensive items that have little intrinsic value but are very meaningful to them. Then these bad feelings “color” the discussions and agreements necessary to disburse large items in an estate. The bad feelings over Grandpa’s watch turn into a court battle over a house.
Just after the death of a parent people often have raw emotions, it’s part of the grieving process. The moment in time can be one of family togetherness, or it can split families up like an axe to firewood. A good estate plan clearly describes who gets what. A good plan clearly tells how to distribute the large assets in your estate and it also has a place to write down who gets small but meaningful things, like Grandpa’s watch. Write those things down! Don’t rely on telling people who gets those things. Funny how being clear about your small possessions can make the distribution of your large assets much easier after your death. I help families carry out the step by step process of administering their parents trust. Please call the Law Office of Ronald T. Cole.