It is mind-blowing what people fight over when someone passes away. The first thought many people have from the outside is that this is motivated by greed. Often, it is. There are other instances when sentimentality drives people to fight over things that have no objective value but which means something to them or someone else in the family.
Forbes shares that in these families, even when the deceased declares a non-family member as the executor of the will, the person has their work cut out for them. Even so, picking a trustworthy executor who can stand up against the rest of the family is the first important step in protecting heirs from themselves.
When people face the possibility of becoming incapacitated, giving the right people the power to make financial decisions, medical decisions and care for them can also come in handy. In one instance where the executor had to move swiftly to prevent adult children from taking their deceased mother’s things, it was the caretaker who immediately notified the executor. When an individual has a trust, then it is a trustee who acts in the role of an executor.
Another way to prevent family squabbles is to give gifts earlier whenever possible. If there are items people may want to have after the individual has passed away and they are not currently in use, giving them to the preferred persons from the start might help to ease the tension and fighting later on.
One U.S. News article confirms that family members fighting over personal property is a serious concern. In fact, many people are more concerned about their family members taking each other to court over the will than they are about probate making the distribution process lengthy. Sometimes, the deceased can pre-empt this by including a no-contest clause, but not all states allow this.