It isn’t uncommon for disputes between family members to occur after a loved one passes away. However, there are steps that individuals in Pennsylvania and elsewhere may be able to take to minimize the chances of a conflict occurring. For instance, it is generally a good idea for a person to create a will that spells out who should receive a certain asset. A will may include a property memorandum that determines who gets to take possession of items that have sentimental value.

In addition to potentially avoiding a family feud, leaving clear instructions may make it easier to get through probate in a timely manner. Ideally, an individual will take time to discuss his or her estate plan with a spouse, adult children or other beneficiaries. This may help them understand why one person may have gotten less than his or her sibling or less than another family member.

Parents may be able to avoid future conflicts by simply allocating assets evenly among their children. If disputes do occur after a person dies, an executor may be able to act as a mediator to help resolve them in a fair and timely manner. Alternatively, the executor can choose to hire an outside neutral party to mediate any problems that may arise between surviving family members.

Typically, money spent to resolve trust or estate disputes will come from the estate itself. This means that beneficiaries may only receive a portion of their inheritances. Furthermore, they may receive their inheritances months or years later than they were expecting to. An attorney may be able to assist executors or others attempting to mediate disputes between family members. Legal representatives may also suggest steps that people might take while they are alive to potentially prevent legal battles from occurring.