October 16, 2011   Inheritance

Blood & Money: Why Families Fight Over Inheritance

By P. Mark Accettura, J.D.
Those of us who practice in the area of estate planning are regularly confronted with families behaving at their worst. People who are normally thoughtful and connected with their emotions revert to fighting children, figuratively, sometimes literally, scratching, punching, and pulling each other’s hair. Even where there is no overt conflict, it seems that nearly every family has some amount of tension percolating just beneath the surface as they address family inheritance issues.Stories of families in conflict at the death of a loved one are regular fodder in the media. It is easy to mock them; they look ridiculous, and it all seems so petty. We wonder why people just can’t get along. But, after some study I have learned that what appears as greed and pettiness are really symp...
July 15, 2011   Inheritance

The Talk

By James K. Leese, JD, MST
Have you ever had a client want to disinherit an heir? If so, perhaps you should recommend the “talk.”   Few clients truly understand what long term consequences the election to disinherit a “loved one” causes. The trickle down effect of disinheritance is easily lost - but, there will be a trickle down effect which can lead to harm to the other family members and their relationships.   I’m convinced that unless the “hurt or ignored” client acts responsibly and has the “talk” with the person who is of­fending them, that the effect of the “out of the blue” disin­heritance may unwittingly breed family contempt between siblings, and their issue, for generations (the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s). &nbs...
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