Losing a parent at any age is a complicated and often devastating experience; it can become even more complex when siblings fight over the administration of an estate. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. There are some situations that happen more often than people might expect.
Accusations of undue influence
In situations where one sibling is much closer to or involved in a parent’s life, they could face allegations of undue influence. This may happen if a will strongly favours that person or aligns more with their wants and needs than the parent’s.
Adult children can still be motivated by things like sibling rivalries or birth order personalities and expectations. Thus, they might act impulsively and deceitfully. One example of this appeared in an article recently and involved a sibling accusing their brother and sister of hiding their father’s will for their own financial gain.
Disagreeing over property management
Parents may have good intentions when leaving a piece of property to their kids, but having multiple owners can create confusion and disputes. For instance, siblings can struggle to reach agreements regarding maintenance, improvements and selling, which can drive a wedge between siblings and make it very difficult to co-manage property.
Clashes over decisions
Substitute decision-makers play a critical but complicated role when finalizing a person’s affairs. However, their choices can come under scrutiny when others do not agree with them. Siblings can argue over what they think their parent would want in terms of medical care or how to distribute property.
When a parent takes the time to have a comprehensive estate plan that clearly lays out their wishes, they can prevent many of these conflicts. Further, relying on professionals to fulfil specific roles instead of adult children can prevent in-fighting between siblings.
Even when siblings previously got along, the process of dividing a parent’s property and assets can be stressful and complicated, driving a wedge between families. However, with thorough planning and clear communication prior to a parent’s passing, families can more easily and peacefully navigate these situations.