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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
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Defensive moves to prevent fights over your will, part 3

Two of our recent posts have discussed ideas about how to avoid fights among your beneficiaries during the estate administration process. The first post in the series discussed treating people who are of the same relation to you equally. The second post had suggestions about determining ahead of time which heir gets which asset, making a list of financial loans to your loved ones and addressing how they should be resolved, and making sure you actually own the gifts you're leaving to your beneficiaries.

Today is the final post in our three-part series, and we have three more suggestions about avoiding problems during estate administration in New Jersey.

It is common for people to name a relative as the executor of an estate. In many situations, that may work well. However, if you anticipate any problems or fights among your beneficiaries, it may be beneficial to name a corporate executor. Although it is typically more expensive to name a corporate executor (such as a bank) to handle your estate, it can help prevent fights from family members who think someone is playing favorites.

If you are getting older, it can be beneficial to make sure your family members know you intentionally left your will the way you intended. We've all heard horror stories about jealous relatives tricking mentally diminishing people to write them into their will. To avoid those allegations, get evaluated by a physician and a geriatric psychiatrist immediately before you sign the documents.

Finally, if you are disinheriting anyone who expected to receive a portion of your estate, it is helpful to articulate that the choice was intentional. Reiterate that your choice to disinherit a child or sibling was intentional, so that it is clear that the disinheritance was not merely an oversight.

Source: Forbes, "10 Ways to Lawsuit-Proof Your Estate," Ashlea Ebeling, 13 July 2011

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