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Estate planning when the kids don't get along

Parents hope their children will get along with each other well. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen with siblings; siblings sometimes have rather tense rivalries or poor relations with one another. Sibling rivalries among their children have the potential to have estate planning implications for parents.

The existence of sibling rivalries could increase the likelihood of disputes arising among a parent's children over aspects of the parent's estate after the parent's death. Things that can sometimes be battlegrounds for siblings with tense relations after the death of a parent include:

  • Who personal items belonging to the parent will go to.
  • How various assets in the estate are divided among the siblings.
  • Who will serve important roles regarding the parent's estate and assets, such as executor or trustee.

Disputes between siblings over a deceased parent's estate can be very costly to a family, both from an emotional and financial perspective. Thus, parents often care very much about lowering the chances of sibling rivalries among their children causing disputes to arise regarding their estate after they die. They also generally care very much about making sure their estate planning goals regarding their children are followed through on when they die.

Consequently, sibling rivalries among their children can be an important thing for parents to factor in when it comes to setting up a will and other aspects of estate planning. It can be vital for parents to understand how the sibling rivalries among their children could potentially lead to legal battles regarding their estate and what they can do in different estate planning devices to help make it clear what they want to have happen upon their death and reduce the chances of disputes arising over their estate. Attorneys can help parents with taking into account the various aspects of their family, including how their children get along, in their estate planning.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Sibling Rivalry Complicates Estate Planning," Veronica Dagher, Sept. 9, 2015

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