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Why inheritance disputes happen and how to prevent them

A dispute over inheritance, no matter how large or small, can escalate quickly and unexpectedly. Children and grandchildren who argue over inheritance often find themselves in the middle of a situation that not only involves the death or anticipated death of a family member, but a relationship at stake. Why do these family feuds happen, and what can Seattle residents do to prevent them?   

One Forbes article acknowledges the common problem of inheritance disputes and the ways they can unintentionally burn long-standing bridges. Some financial experts claim that reasons this issue is becoming so prevalent can be traced back to adult children and their failure to save for their own retirement plans. Others simply feel entitled to their family's money. And others, looking back at a culture long affiliated with materialism and money, point toward greedy obsessions. Generational gaps and the ways they affect personal financing can also have influences on the ways family members view inheritances. Ultimately, Forbes looks at communication as the key to solutions.

Next Avenue also understands that these unfortunate family matters happen all too often. How, then, can one prevent them altogether? In a similar vein as Forbes' financial advice, Next Avenue encourages readers to communicate about estate plans and intentions early on in the process. This approach may not prevent the fight or uncomfortable discussions, but most would agree that it is better to address the tension sooner than later. With that said, it is important to treat surviving family as fairly as possible; making sure children get both items of monetary and sentimental value is one way to avoid conflict down the road. Communication is the answer to many of life's big points of contention, and going about an inheritance with a clear message can keep a family from risking relationships all because of misunderstandings.  

 

   

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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
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Lynnwood, WA 98046

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