News & Events


Communication: “Who gets the china?” (OK, but who actually wants the china?)

By:  Dan McGuire

This is part 2 of a series breaking down the process of helping clients set up their Wills by breaking the issues down into smaller, individual topics, enabling the adviser and client to take the necessary steps, and get the plan moving.

People generally think that their family will not fight over anything after they die. That may be the case in a lot of situations, but in others, long dormant rivalries and issues suddenly surface. Perceived slights become the basis for litigation. A thoughtful approach to the estate plan can minimize that risk. The key, of course, is communication, both with the client, and the client with his/her family.

Simply asking family members what each would like to receive, or expects to receive upon the client’s death, can mitigate many issues. Without those conversations, the client may be wrestling with deciding who should get the painting in the dining room when no one really wants it in the first place. That may be heartbreaking to the client but knowing in advance may allow the client to find someone who really would appreciate getting it. In fact, family members may want things the client never even considered such as holiday decorations, old gifts from the child that the client may still have but forgotten the source, or other items that may hold sentimental value to a particular family member. It is also better for the client to find out in advance that more than one person has set their sights on one specific object!

Often, part of the initial discussion with a client who wants to start defining the estate plan involves giving the client homework: “Talk to your family and find out what THEY want from you.”

Our next topic will be a discussion of how to address the distribution of the personal property the client has discussed with the family.

Our attorneys are always ready, willing and able to meet and discuss all of those questions, help you articulate your plan and goals, determine the best plan to accomplish them, and then implement it. You will find that, by taking those small bites, the problem that used to lead to procrastination and uncertainty has been addressed and resolved. Learn more about Mansour Gavin’s Estate Planning & Probate group.