When a loved one dies and leaves behind assets, disagreements among siblings and children are sure to ensue. We’ve all heard horror stories of siblings fighting over who gets the family home, children fighting over banks accounts, and relatives fighting over who gets to have the family heirloom pieces.

Inheritance and money issues can cause tension between family members. Each member has their own personal interest to pursue and oftentimes, this results in nasty feuds. As an executor of your parent’s estate, it is part of your responsibility to prevent such disputes and keep the peace within the family. Some of these disagreements can actually be anticipated and even avoided. Here’s how.

Communication and Transparency:

Oftentimes, lack of communication is the most common cause of many family disputes. As an executor, it is very important for you to comply with your obligations at all times, and this includes having an open communication line with your family members. You should ensure that all your co-beneficiaries are kept up to date with the progress of the administration of the estate. All parties involved should have access to information they are entitled to and no one should be kept in the dark. Lack of communication will only raise suspicions among family members and this can eventually turn into a full-blown feud.

Perform Your Responsibilities As Soon As Possible:

While it’s difficult to deal with a loss of a parent, you must face your responsibilities as an executor as soon as you can. If you deliberately delay administering the estate, you will just create conflict among your co-beneficiaries and worse, it can even put you in a bad light. Remember that the longer you hold off the process, the longer it will take for the assets to be distributed.

To begin, you must first file a request for probate. Probate is the legal process of validating a deceased person’s will. During this process, you are expected to notify all involved parties, take an inventory of the estate, and pay any outstanding liabilities. Once everything has been settled, the assets will be then transferred and distributed according to the will. Typically, the process should take about less than a year, but it can drag on for years if the assets are complicated.

Rebuild Family Ties

Deep-seated resentments and jealousy usually surface once family members find out the contents of the will. Some might feel shortchanged and even question the distribution of the estate. Unfortunately, this is inevitable and as an executor, you really can’t do anything about it. You can’t change what’s in the will and you can’t change how the assets will be divided.

There is no single way to fix family disputes that stem from personal resentment and jealousy. But remember that your parent made you the estate executor because you’re capable of fixing whatever disagreements that may arise in the process. It’s best to make an effort to restore peace and harmony within the family by reaching out to each member of the family. Try to reconnect and rebuild your relationship with each other, because at the end of the day, the family will always be family.

How to Avoid Family Disputes When You’re Handling an Estate
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