Avoiding Family Conflict After Death of a Loved One

The Chamberlain Law Firm

Losing a loved one brings a time of deep grief and stress. During such challenging times, emotions can unfortunately spark conflicts among family members regarding the distribution of the deceased’s estate. Disagreements often arise over how to fairly divide assets and honor the wishes of the departed.

At The Chamberlain Law Firm, we advocate for thorough pre-planning to prevent future disputes. However, we recognize that not everyone has the advantage of a comprehensive estate plan in place. In these instances, you cannot turn back time for a solution. But there are still effective methods to peacefully resolve these conflicts as they arise.

In this article, our team of skilled New Jersey probate attorneys will guide you through strategies to prevent family conflict after the death of a loved one. We’ll cover essential measures to take both before and after someone passes away, offering practical advice to navigate these sensitive situations with care and foresight.

Having a Comprehensive Estate Plan

The most effective strategy to prevent family conflict during probate is to establish a comprehensive estate plan. At The Chamberlain Law Firm, we firmly believe in the importance of early planning. Creating an estate plan is a wise step at any age, as it prepares you for unforeseen circumstances. A well-defined estate plan can guide your family through the probate process and significantly diminish the chances of disputes.

It’s vital to keep your estate plan up to date. Regular revisions will ensure it accurately represents your latest wishes and situation, maintaining its relevance and effectiveness.

Collaborating with an estate planning attorney allows you to employ legal tactics to bypass probate court, thereby simplifying the process. A popular and effective strategy among our clients is the inclusion of a living trust in their estate plans.

Finally, choosing a trustworthy executor or trustee is key. Select someone capable of managing your estate efficiently and adept at mediating potential conflicts. Their role is vital in executing your plan smoothly and harmoniously.

Resolving Family Conflict After Death of a Loved One

When a loved one hasn’t prepared for their passing, or their estate plan is outdated and no longer reflects their current estate, you’re faced with a challenging scenario. Since it’s not possible to retroactively adjust their preparations, alternative solutions are needed to manage conflicts.

Working With an Attorney or Third Party Mediator

Initially, if there is no will or living trust, state law will govern how the assets are distributed. But, even with this roadmap, there can be many questions and issues to address before dividing up the estate.  One effective approach to help with this process is to engage an attorney or a neutral third-party mediator. Typically, the costs for these professional services are covered by the estate or trust funds. 

An attorney or third-party mediator should provide a neutral standpoint, free from emotional biases that often arise in these sensitive times. Their commitment to fairness and the best interests of the estate can help ease tensions among family members. With their impartial approach, family members can trust in the mediator’s unbiased decision-making, reducing the likelihood of arbitrary actions.

Other Ways to Ease Family Conflict After Death

When family members struggle to divide the assets of a deceased loved one, several strategies can help ensure fair treatment for everyone involved. One straightforward solution is to sell the deceased’s assets and equally distribute the proceeds among the family members. However, this approach might not always be suitable, especially when certain items hold sentimental value to specific family members.

In such instances, a collaborative approach can be beneficial. Family members can mutually agree to take turns choosing personal property items they wish to keep. This allows everyone the opportunity to select items that are most significant to them, ensuring an equitable process for all.


At The Chamberlain Law Firm, we understand the emotional challenges that arise following the loss of a loved one. If you’re navigating the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, or if you’re looking to establish a solid estate plan to prevent future conflicts, our team is here to support you. Our seasoned New Jersey estate planning and probate attorneys specialize in everything from assisting family members through estate administration to developing personalized, comprehensive estate plans for our clients. 

Facing family conflicts during probate can be daunting, and planning for the future can often seem overwhelming. But remember, addressing these matters sooner rather than later is always the wiser course of action. Don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re here to guide you through these critical moments with expertise and compassion. Give us a call today at (201) 273-9763 for a consultation. And for more estate planning and probate advice, be sure to check out our Insight Articles.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. In the event you would like to speak with a lawyer about the specifics of your case, contact The Chamberlain Law Firm at (201) 273-9763 to schedule a consultation.

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