It is a painful reality that many times the passing of a loved one can set the stage for family conflicts.  Quarreling over assets and family keepsakes can spiral out of control, damaging family relationships for years.  Some families never recover.  This is the last outcome a person wants for those left behind.  While no estate plan is fool-proof in this regards, there are several strategies to minimize family fighting after you pass away.  The first step is not to assume things will be harmonious – people that make this assumption often fail to plan for their estates at all, setting the stage for lengthy, expensive legal battles.  Ask the right questions when establishing your estate plan, take the advice of attorneys and your team of advisors and communicate with the family what and why you are structuring things in a particular way.  Clear communication of your goals, wishes and intent with in families is often the crucial factor in defusing a potentially contentious estate.

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