Inheritance disputes have been known to tear families apart and result in relatives not speaking to each other for the rest of their lives. Of course, this would be something that you and other Detroit residents would want to avoid. The way that you plan your estate may make the difference between your children sharing happy memories after the reading of the will or taking each other to court.

According to The Wall Street Journal, it is not uncommon for people to get into contentious and costly estate battles over something as seemingly trivial as an item of jewelry, Grandma’s best china or an unequal division of the estate. One of the most effective ways you might avoid such fights is to clearly designate in your will how you want your belongings, property and funds to be divided. If you are giving family members an unequal amount, it is a good idea to explain your reasons for this. For example, you might leave one of your children more money than the others if he or she was your sole caregiver during your final years. This is a common arrangement that is often seen as fair, but you will need to make sure it is explained in your will.

You might also avoid fights over beloved heirlooms by having your loved ones decide ahead of time what they would like, and having each of them sign a document stating they understand how the jewelry, furnishings and other items will be divided. Choosing an impartial executor of your will, instead of one child over the others, may be another way to avoid implying favoritism and preclude a battle.

Preserving family harmony may be an important part of planning an estate. This information is meant to educate, and should not be taken as legal advice.