Things Your Attorney Should Tell You About Avoiding Family Disputes

Family on couchVoltaire had it right when he quipped that the problem with common sense is that it is not common enough. Far too often families are ending up in court.  In most of these situations,  the dispute could have, and should have been avoided.

One of the objectives of Simple Life Reboot is to strengthen and protect family relationships.

Here are a few basic recommendations:

1.  Don’t Sue Family Members.  Don’t place yourself in the position of believing you need to sue a family member  to recover on a loan or transaction.  If you cannot afford to lose money to a family member,  don’t loan it to or enter into the transaction with the family member.  Family relationships are infinitely more valuable than the money involved.

If you determine that it is important to enter into a transaction with a family member, only do so if you are prepared to forgive the family member for nonperformance. Let the transaction fail,  not the familial relationship.

2. Don’t Keep Financial Secrets from Spouses and Family Business Partners.  Keep your spouse and business partners fully apprised of financial matters. Period.  You are not “protecting” loved ones by denying them the opportunity to work with you on finding solutions. Secrets often hurt.

3. Have an Estate Plan.  The ugliest litigation by far involves family members fighting over the care of a loved one, and later, the division of the estate. Many disagreements can be anticipated and  prevented with well-drafted estate planning documents.  Take action now to reduce family conflict both before and after your death. Make an estate plan and communicate it as appropriate to your family members.


DISCLAIMER:  The information and communications in Simple Life Reboot do not constitute legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship for any purpose.



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