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Heirs can let resentment show after a parent's passing

As you do your estate planning, your children seem generally happy with one another. There aren't any big fights or disagreements. You feel confident that they'll all be able to sort out your estate peacefully after you pass away.

For instance, maybe you're leaving the family home to the kids. They could keep it and all own a third of it, but you're hoping they'll just sell it. After all, it's worth about $600,000. Each child could take $200,000 and everyone would be happy.

While that can happen in a perfect world, and it sometimes does, experts warn that it may not go as smoothly as you hope. In many cases, they say, resentment has been growing as the years go by. While parents are alive, kids keep it in check. When the parents pass away, it all floods to the surface.

In some cases, this means some heirs are "looking for payback." This can cause arguments and people may make decisions out of spite.

Additionally, they may not all be on the same page. Two kids may want to sell the home, while the third wants to keep it and can't bear the thought of seeing it pass out of the family. Unless that child has $400,000 to buy out the other two, this can create a high-conflict situation where someone is bound to feel wronged -- either the child who loses the home in an unwanted sale or the two children who are forced to keep the home and feel that they've lost $200,000 each.

The best way to avoid a contentious situation is to understand all of your estate planning options and have a very precise plan in place that addresses these potential issues.

Source: Bankrate, "How to split up the willed family home," Jay McDonald, accessed July 14, 2017

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