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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.