Inheritance and Preventing Family Conflicts

As reported by, a man recently sparked a storm of debate on Reddit when he inherited a property and refused to honor the tradition of hosting family weddings there. This article will summarize some of the suggestions on how to prevent family conflicts with inherited property from the full article, which can be found here:

A study shows asset transfers are of increasing importance for families. 

  • As per an April 2017 study published in Families, Relationships and Societies, “asset transfers are of increasing importance for families as a way of transmitting advantages over generations…but little is known about how inheritance generates disputes, tensions or dissatisfaction among family members.” 
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Research indicates a continuum of motivations by gifters. 

  •  A study published in the European Journal of Ageing, indicates that material inheritance constitutes a challenge for families and that the motivation of the gifter can fluctuate on a continuum between unconditional donation (altruism) and conditional donation (strategic, reciprocity). 

The person inheriting property should clearly communicate boundaries. 

  • Bill Gladwell, a communication expert, was quoted in the Newsweek article as advising people who inherit property to clearly communicate their boundaries and expectations to family members up front. 
  • Make it clear that any use of inherited property by family members must now be agreed to and approved by the person who now owns it. 
  • Having an open and honest conversation about concerns is vital. 
  • It is important for the new owner of the inherited property to be firm in their boundaries, but it is also imperative to express respect and understanding for the other family members’ feelings to keep the lines of communication open. 

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Laywer

One aspect of estate planning that is extremely important is thinking ahead to potential family conflicts and creating a plan that will promote the goals of the giver without stirring up disputes in the family. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience helping clients with estate planning and can help you make a plan that is just right for you and your loved ones. Contact us at 707-451-4502.