A recent NY Times article, When a Will Divides an Estate, and Also Divides a Family, highlights the value of facilitated family discussions in estate matters. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/21/your-money/unequal-inheritances-may-ignite-family-squabbles.html?_r=0
What Kate, the person profiled, revealed is the emotional toll caused by a failure to constructively communicate with her family. For her, it was not just that her grandmother disinherited her deceased father’s portion (which would then be shared by his heirs) a week before she died when she was suffering from severe Alzheimer’s, but the fact that her aunt and cousins called her “greedy” for asserting what she considered her birthright. Through the legal process she lost her relationship with them. She was unable to share her grief with her extended family, join them in the family memories, and lost a connection to her father’s family for herself and her children.
A facilitated conversation can let families sort throughout the charged emotions and breakdown in communication which can escalate when there is a difference of opinion. Often, protracted and expensive litigation, like Kate endured, can be avoided.