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Division without Divisiveness

You’ve probably heard the horror stories – how sometimes families are torn apart by hard feelings stemming from the inequitable division of estates or even from the perception that the division was not fair. As an outside observer, it might be easy to dismiss such cases as pointless, petty, and avoidable. But how easy it is for all of us to repeat the same mistakes that led to these tragic consequences! How would it feel to learn that now there is a resource that helps you avoid such conflicts?

A book that provides clear, useful advice about how to divide the family estate of deceased parents in a fair and peaceful manner. Even though it addresses a topic most of us don’t particularly like to think about, this book is potentially helpful to just about every one. The author points out that not thinking about this situation beforehand and not having an adequate plan to deal with it are what often cause most of the all-too common heartbreaks that result from the division of estates. It will get readers thinking clearly about problems they might never have anticipated, and it will also help turn what could be a very trying experience into something positive and memorable, a time to celebrate family relationships rather than to destroy them. The author of this book is the daughter of a noted attorney who argued the celebrated McDaniel v. Barresi busing case before the Supreme Court. Growing up, she heard her father’s stories about the estate settlements he handled and his seasoned opinions on how family conflicts can be avoided. When both her parents died, she and her siblings found it time to put their father’s advice into practice. The result was that “They emerged from the process as better friends than they had been when they started and remain close still.” Now, the author has made her father’s advice, tested and refined by her own experience, available to everyone. The book establishes a tone that mitigates the seriousness of her subject matter, without becoming flippant, by structuring the book around a “game” metaphor. Early chapters describe the “ground rules,” the “game setup,” how to prepare “the field of play,” and “keeping score.” Crucial points, such as that nothing should be removed from the home or premises, are established early on, and a practical methodology for dividing the estate is lucidly presented. (You’ll just need some dice, some color-coded tags, and a few forms conveniently provided in the book’s appendix.) Throughout, the author keeps her eyes firmly on the prize: that is, providing the conditions that will lead to a fair and peaceful settlement. The final sections of the book usher the reader through a crucial “to-do” list, which takes into account everything from banking to taxes to credit cards to life insurance policies and Social Security. This section will be a great logistical boon to heirs stuck working their way through all the loose ends and complex arrangements of modern life. This section alone, which is really only a footnote to the game itself, is worth more than the price of the book for the lost time and headaches it will help one to avoid. The book’s appendix provides useful forms that will help you to play “The Settlement Game” and to keep track of items and miscellaneous expenses. In addition, the book comes highly recommended, with a foreword by Judge Griffin Bell, who served as Attorney General in the Carter administration and was recently appointed to an ad hoc Advisory Committee on new rules governing military tribunals.

This is one of those rare books that can benefit just about everyone – because we all will have to deal with the unfortunate passing of loved ones. Why not do so in an informed and prepared manner? This clear, compact book, a model of its genre, will provide readers with just the tool they need to avoid conflict and to achieve an equitable estate division. Want to know the name of the book? THE SETTLEMENT GAME: How to Settle an Estate Peacefully and Fairly. By Angie Epting Morris ISBN# 9780976993421. Published by Voyages PressScience Articles, Inc.

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Angie Epting Morris has worked as a professional cartographer, a high school teacher of English and Geography and has owned a retail travel agency including a state accredited school to train travel industry personnel. She is now regarded as an expert in the field of Peaceful Settlements – “How to Settle an Estate Peacefully and Fairly”. This involves her skills as a teacher in helping people learn her proven system for going through the division process of an Estate Settlement. She speaks and conducts workshops for groups regarding this important area of family relationships and also works with professionals (Attorneys, Estate and Financial Planners, CPAs, Insurance Companies, etc.) to help fulfill this important niche in the estate settlement process.

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