Last time, we began discussing how rather than fostering a sense of closeness and unity, the passing of a parent can sometimes serve to sow considerable discord — and even result in legal disputes — among siblings once it comes time to address the issue of dividing the estate.
We also discussed how experts have indicated that there are a few simple ways that parents with adult children can help prevent this from occurring, including taking the time to be clear about possessions. We’ll continue this discussion in today’s post.
According to experts, some of the more common causes of disputes among adult children regarding their parent’s estate are bequests that seem both unexpected and otherwise inconsistent with the lifetime position adopted by their mother or father.
For instance, consider a scenario where a daughter borrows a considerable sum from a parent during their lifetime, and where the parent assures their son that this large-scale borrowing will be adequately reflected in the estate plan such that they will receive a larger share.
Should the son later discover upon the parent’s passing that the estate is to be divided equally between him and his sister, it’s not surprising that the he would feel somehow slighted or even question whether this result was perhaps the product of undue influence by his sister.
Experts indicate that otherwise explosive situations like this can often be avoided if parents simply take the time to share their estate plans with their adult children while they are still alive, such that there are no surprises and any grievances can be effectively aired.
If you would like to learn more about your options as they relate to creating a comprehensive estate plan, or have questions about the estate administration and probate process, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.