Seven Tips to Keeping Peace Among Your Heirs

Posted on April 25, 2007


The Wall Street Journal Online has an informative article on "How to Keep Peace Among Heirs".  The article provides the following seven tips to minimize or resolve fights over your possessions:

  1. Gather family members to talk about who wants what while everyone is still in good health.
  2. Use a program called "Who gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?" developed by the University of Minnesota, which includes a detailed workbook, video and Web site,, with pointers to help families discuss property distribution.
  3. Fair doesn’t always mean equal.  Some families take into account care-giving contributions, economic status or family situations when determining how to distribute property.
  4. Formalize property-distribution decisions either in a will or as a separate personal-property list that’s referenced in the will.
  5. Tag objects with labels in order to designate who gets what.
  6. Hold “sentimental auctions” in which family members bid on objects using “virtual points,” rather than real money.
  7. Another alternative is a round-robin process in which family-members take turns picking out items they would like to have.

Melanie P. Hahn, Hahn Law Firm, P.C.