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Family disputes are common even with estate plans

Disputes over the items a family member has in their estate when they die are common among Las Vegas families whether the deceased person had millions of dollars or died virtually penniless. Wills and trusts are effective ways to reduce the amount of discord after death but unless every heir has a clear understanding of what they are to receive as an inheritance, disagreements and even lawsuits may still happen. Robin Williams' estate was not exempt from family drama.

Although Robin Williams left all of his assets to a trust that detailed which of his possessions would go to his three adult children and what he wanted to leave to his current wife, his advance planning did not prevent a lawsuit over his personal items that were not specifically listed in the trust. His widow allegedly believes she has the right to keep her late husband's collections while his children have asked the courts to award the items to them.

Experts suggest parents should have a clear conversation with their children about how they plan to divide their assets when they die. Gathering all of the heirs together in one place, possibly over a holiday meal, may be an effective way to ensure they have an understanding of the plan and an opportunity to provide their own input.

A lawyer who focuses on estate planning and administration might help a person who wants to leave their possessions to their loved ones by assisting them in creating a will and a trust. Both documents could be beneficial in helping a person outline their final wishes. However, it is also important to talk to the heirs so they are aware of what they might receive so they will not be surprised when they receive their inheritance.

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