You pride yourself in the closeness and love your family shares. As such, you might not worry too much about what happens after your death. Your loved ones respect each other, and you are sure they can sort out where your heirlooms and mementos go when you are gone. After all, you have already taken care of the important aspects of your estate, such as your home and life insurance, in your will. However, can you and other Illinois residents really expect everything will run smoothly after the funeral?

As you know, emotions can be raw after the death of a loved one, and people react differently to grief. You may not predict that some of your family members might feel slighted or left out, which could come out when the executor reads your will. The result might be an argument over your possessions, which could end in a lengthy and costly probate dispute. How can you prevent this? The following tips might help:

  • Hold a family meeting to discuss how to divide your estate and get everyone’s thoughts on what is fair. Consider dividing your estate equally, as this may be the best way to avoid hurt feelings.
  • List the smaller items in your possession, which may have great sentimental value to your children and grandchildren. These may include holiday decorations, photo albums, artwork and household knickknacks. Write down the items each family member would like to keep.
  • If you wish, you may give family heirlooms to your loved ones in person, so you can see them enjoy and appreciate these gifts. Additionally, this can prevent anyone from going into your home after your death and taking things that are not meant for them.

Estate disputes are not limited to your most valuable assets. The smaller items in your possession may also be of great value to your loved ones, and you should not leave them out of your estate planning.

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