You thought that the sibling rivalry between your children was pretty rough to handle when they were young but thought it would fade. Instead, your adult children have become more deeply entrenched in their rivalry than ever. In fact, they can be downright antagonistic toward each other.
What happens when you’re gone? Unless you want your estate to be torn apart and devalued in a bitter feud, it helps to understand what starts an estate fight between siblings — so that you can take steps now to mitigate the fallout from your death.
Most of the time, siblings fight over a parent’s estate because:
- There’s no will, or the will is unclear. Your will is your final directive regarding how your assets are to be divided and your personal effects are meant to be distributed. The more clearly written your directives, the less likely there is to be a fight.
- There’s not been enough communication. Even a well-written will can be disputed if one of your kids believes they’ve gotten unfair treatment or their sibling somehow unduly influenced your decisions. It helps to explain your wishes — and your reasoning — before you’re gone.
- You didn’t name your medical power of attorney or have a medical directive. Fights between siblings can start before a parent’s death when they disagree on how to manage end-of-life care. It’s wisest to put someone specific in charge and detail your expectations and desires as specifically as possible. It may also be wise to pick someone other than one of your children to handle the job.
- You picked the wrong executor. If your kids are prone to disagreements, it may be better to hire a professional to handle your estate or appoint a friend, instead.
An experienced estate planning attorney can often help you avoid problems like these. Find out more today.