Inheriting property sometimes causes conflict among family members. A death can revive dormant relationship issues, jealousies or resentments. Additionally, an element of surprise may provoke negative feelings. If everyone in the family knows how you are planning to leave your property, they may understand your choices or have time to consider them and express any disagreement.
If they don’t know your plans, surprise can result in confusion, argument, and potential court fights. Another common scenario is bad feelings caused by an unequal division of assets. Most parents leave their property to their children more or less equally, but there are also many good reasons for an unequal division. For example, maybe one child does not handle money well or already received a substantial gift. As long as the children all understand the reasoning, they may be more likely to accept your decisions.
Most families do not have serious disputes over inherited money, and very few take the matter to court, however, there are situations where families can be separated by arguments over inheritances. One thing that you can do to help avoid disputes is to choose your Executor carefully. Choose someone who is honest, organized, hardworking, and a good communicator. This may or may not be the eldest child.
If you require assistance in deciding how to structure your will, consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.