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Why Do Families Argue Over

Loved One’s Legacy?

You could be for- as understanding as you
given for thinking that would have been. If
fights occur only over you can’t find a relative
the estates of the rich suitable or willing to
and famous. But you’d serve, consider retain-
be, ahem, dead wrong. ing a third party to do
For every Michael so, like a lawyer, CPA or
Jackson, Brooke Astor bank trust department.
and Anna Nicole Smith, There will be a fee for
there are countless those services, but you
average families argu- know the job will be
ing over a loved one’s done properly. (At least
legacy. And there are Joseph S. Karp, C.E.L.A. if your family is going
many reasons this occurs. to hate anyone, it won’t be another
F i r s t , w h a t y o u c o n s i d e r a n family member!)
insignificant amount of money may If you yourself are a Personal Rep-
be a very big deal for one of your resentative or Trustee, make sure you
heirs. These days especially, people cross every “t” and dot every “i”—
are more likely to go to the mats for this will go a long way to preserving
what they consider to be their piece family harmony. Consult with an

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of the pie, however thin the piece. attorney experienced in probate and
Second, families battle
over more than money. They Listen to Joe Karp and Anita Finley on
argue over who has control Saturday, March 26 from 7:30-8:00 AM

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of the estate; how and when on WSBR 740AM and on the
the monies are being dis- Internet at
tributed, etc. They argue
over objects, also. In my practice, trust administration, who will advise
I have seen siblings furious over you of your legal obligations and help
f u r n i t u r e , p h o t o s , a n d f u n e r a l you fulfill them.
arrangements. If you are a Personal Representa-
And let’s not forget Cain and Abel. tive or Trustee who has to defend the
Many families have siblings that get legitimacy of an estate plan, be sure
along marvelously, always have and to seek legal help. Do the same if you
always will. Most don’t. When you feel that you have been illegitimately
add the stress of a parent’s passing denied an inheritance. In both cases,
to sibling rivalry, it’s an even more time is always of the essence.
volatile mix. Call The Karp Law Firm for assis-
If you are planning your estate, tance with any or all of the above.
you can eliminate (or at least mini- Joseph S. Karp is a nationally certified
mize) family dissension by choosing and Florida Bar-certified elder law attor-
ney (C.E.L.A.) specializing in the practice
your Trustee and Personal Represen- of Trusts, Estates and Elder Law.
tative wisely. An experienced estate His offices are located at 2500 Quantum
planning/elder law attorney can Lakes Drive, Boynton Beach (561) 752-4550;
provide you sound guidance in this 2875 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens
(561) 625-1100; and 1100 SW St. Lucie W.
matter. If, for example, you want Blvd., Port St. Lucie (772) 343-8411.
to appoint your well-meaning but Toll-free from anywhere: 800-893-9911.
chronically disorganized son to E-mail: or website
administer your estate, think twice.
Read The Florida Elder Law and Estate
If he ends up mishandling the Planning Blog at
paperwork, his siblings may not be