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Can you address sibling rivalry in your estate plan?

| Mar 26, 2020 | Uncategorized |

Some Missouri residents are not big on planning ahead. They may think that everything will fall into place as it is supposed to, or they may not like planning because no one follows instructions anyway. The latter may be true for you and other parents who have children who have constantly been at odds.

As they grew up, your children may have tested your patience on many occasions. You may have tried to do your best to ensure that they felt equally loved and cared for and tried to foster a loving relationship between them. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, your children never seemed to get along.

Sibling rivalry and estate planning

You may have found ways to cope with your children’s sibling rivalry over the years, and even though they are now adults, you still find yourself having to find ways to manage that aspect of their lives and yours. Now that you are ready to start your estate plan, you likely worry that their difficult relationship will affect your plan.

It is important to remember that you have control over your estate plan and after-life wishes. If you have concerns that your children will fight over those wishes, you may want to consider the following tips to lessen conflict:

  • Discuss your wishes with your children ahead of time. They may fight at the time or try to get you to change your mind, but you should stand firm on your decisions and explain why you made them, which could help them come to terms with your choices.
  • Put your wishes in a legally-binding will and utilize other estate planning tools. The law requires your loved ones to follow your estate plan — if the documents are created correctly — so having these documents may deter them from fighting.
  • Consider dividing your estate equally among them. In many cases, sibling fights take place during probate because one sibling got more than another, so an equal share for each may prevent conflict over that point.

Of course, you should keep in mind that you can divide your estate as you see fit. If you have concerns that your decisions could spur conflict between your children, you may want to speak with an attorney about how to lessen the likelihood of contention over your wishes and how you can create an estate plan that best suits your particular needs.

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