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Don't let your estate cause a family feud

Whether you like the game show "Family Feud" or not, one thing is for certain: You don't want to start a feud among your own family members with your will and estate plan. This happens all too often, though, when family members disagree on the distribution. There are a few things you can do to prevent it, and it's also wise to know about all of the legal steps to take in New York to make sure your estate is dealt with as you desire.

1. Consider individuals' desires. Different people care about different things. For example, a daughter may really want the family home, while a son may be more interested in cash. Don't just try to divide things in a fair manner, but in a way that addresses what people really want—even if that's not a perfectly "fair" split from a monetary perspective.

2. Itemize your assets. This can take a lot of time, but it's worth it to have a comprehensive list of all of the major assets you own—and a lot of the minor ones, as well. In many cases, arguments are more likely to start over things that are not mentioned in the will, even if they're things you forgot about or didn't consider important.

3. Let people choose things on their own. You don't have to make a will without any input and then hope your family likes it. Some experts say it's a great idea to sit down and talk everything out with all of the family members who will get your possessions. You may even want to simply go from one to the next, letting people pick items that they'd like to get. They're less likely to argue if they determined the outcome.

Source: Market Watch, "How to prevent family feuds when it comes to your inheritance," Glenn Ruffenach, accessed Oct. 19, 2015

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