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inheritance disputes Archives

Reviewing Washington's intestate succession guidelines

Despite the effort that many in Seattle put into their estate planning, there is no guarantee that disputes and discord will not arise amongst their beneficiaries once they are gone. If such disputes are possible even when people have planned out the distribution of their estates, imagine the chaos that can ensue when a person dies without a will. Such an occurrence is certainly not uncommon; after all, according to information shared by the American Association of Retired Persons, only four out of 10 adults in America have drafted any sort of estate planning documents. 

Why are wills so controversial?

The death of a parent or grandparent is always tough, whether it is a sudden accident or death after a long, slow decline in health. What makes it tougher for Seattle residents is a will that they feel is unfair. For example, a child who acts as the primary caregiver for an aging parent for several years may feel entitled to a bigger share of the estate than siblings who did not.

When a family member cannot be trusted

Unfortunately, stories of elderly abuse -- especially those involving financial deception -- are all too common. A large number of these cases occur within the walls of Seattle nursing homes and hospitals. Some incidents, shockingly enough, can be traced back to an elderly person's own family member. 

Examining no contest clauses

Seattle residents certainly do not want to see their decisions regarding the dispersal of their estates to cause contention amongst their beneficiaries. Being as transparent as possible in the structuring of a will might help to avoid that, yet there still may be situations where one beneficiary who is unhappy about what he or she receives chooses to dispute the matter and hold up the entire estate administration process. Some might say that there is an easy way to avoid this: simply include a "no contest" clause in a will.

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?   

Addressing an inheritance dispute

The death of a family member is, needless to say, a stressful enough experience on its own. Inheritance disputes often only add to this stress. Why did a late family member decide to arrange the will they way they did? What might it mean for beneficiaries? How can siblings cope with misunderstandings and disagreements as a result? Although each situation in Seattle is unique, the following can provide some clarity during these complicated times.

Stepfamily challenges after a death

Children's literature often includes stories involving strained relationships between children and stepmothers. Sadly that can be the reality for many people today as remarriages after a divorce or even after a prior widowing experience are far from uncommon. While certainly many stepfamilies create strong and positive bonds, the fact remains that special care should be taken when making estate plans for a remarriage.

When siblings have mixed inheritance priorities

The terminal illness or death of a parent can, needless to say, stir up a number of complex emotions. For one, there is the aspect of caring for a potentially incapacitated family member who may need extensive medical attention and care. Secondly, adult children may face the responsibility of finding a reliable Seattle nursing home to ensure all needs are met. Finally, there comes the often tricky topic of a parent's will. When it does not appear fair, how can siblings work out the issues? 

Ways to alleviate inheritance disputes

In a time that is likely already sensitive, contention over an inheritance plan can make matters worse. A deceased loved one's arrangements may not please everyone, but there are often ways surviving family can meet in the financial middle. For Seattle residents in the midst of an inheritance dispute, some solutions may work better than others.

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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
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Lynnwood, WA 98046

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