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Estate planning for when sibling rivalry is an issue

It can be tough to see one's children fail to get along. Sometimes, there is nothing a parent can do, though, but let them try and work through things on their own. When it comes to protecting one's estate when sibling rivalry is an issue, there are some optional estate planning steps Missouri residents can take in order to make sure their wants and wishes are known, and to help avoid conflict during the estate administration process.

Optional step number one: write a letter outlining who gets what. Known as a letter of instruction, this is not necessarily a legally binding document. It is meant to serve as a roadmap of sorts so that children have a clear understanding of what their parents want to have happen with their assets.

Optional step number two: tag specific items. Some people prefer to put tags on certain things they believe that their children will fight about. These tags will name the individual who is to inherit the property. Again, not necessarily a legally binding strategy, but it does serve to make clear a parent's intent.

Optional step number three: give away assets while still alive. While not everyone's favorite choice, it will most certainly avoid fights over certain pieces of property during the estate administration process. One must be careful when going this route, though, as there may be tax consequences.

These three steps are only suggestions and are not meant to replace a traditional estate plan, which may include a will and/or trust. They are only meant to serve as ways to indicate one's intent. Legal counsel can assist Missouri residents who may have questions about these and other estate planning steps and options. With the right help, a solid estate plan that addresses sibling rivalry issues can be created.

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