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5 ways to prepare when you think an estate dispute might get ugly

No family is perfect. But money can bring out the worst in people, and dividing up a parent's assets after death is no exception. If you feel there likely is going to be an estate dispute in your family, here are five ways to prepare. 

  1. Keep good records. If you are the caregiver for your elderly parent, it is a good idea to keep track of spending for your parent's care, even smaller ticket items such as food or clothing. Sadly, some people have experienced siblings who act selfishly when a parent is aging, fighting to protect their inheritance rather than spending the money on appropriate care or a nursing home for the parent.
  2. Stick up for yourself. It's not OK for a family member to mistreat you over money. Your parent may not have wanted to see their children fighting, but it's the greedy sibling that has the disappointing behavior. Not you.
  3. Get a good attorney. It is a good idea to speak with an experienced lawyer about your situation if you suspect your parent's estate might cause conflict in the family. Legal representation can lessen the stress of a difficult situation. And you'll know that you have someone giving you a voice in the courtroom and protecting your rights.
  4. Practice self care. Maybe you're still grieving over the loss of a loved one and now have a sibling behaving in a way that makes a difficult situation worse. Try not to focus on this dispute 24/7. Vent to friends or your lawyer, but also be sure to take time doing the things you love. Allow yourself to free your mind of the negativity.
  5. Have perspective. As this expert in elder care says, no sibling is worth having a relationship with if they are willing to hurt you deeply over money. To move past a damaging relationship, realize that you may need time or even counseling to help.

Have a question about a will or estate dispute? Talk to an experienced estate litigation attorney to learn more about the legal process and your rights.

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