Dividing an Estate Among Siblings
It’s never easy to deal with the passing of a loved one, but the process can be made even more difficult when conflicts arise between siblings as they divide an inheritance from parents or divvy up cherished personal possessions.
Fortunately, there are strategies parents may employ beforehand to reduce the conflict during the division of assets among siblings, including the following tips:
- Plan for sentimental possessions. Frequent points of contention among siblings are possessions with attached memories, regardless if the item has any financial value. A way to prevent this is specifically bequeathing items to individuals and making up any disparities in value with a cash legacy. Wills should be kept updated to reflect the acquisition of new possessions that will need to be distributed.
- Exercise care in naming an executor or personal representative. Sometimes when conflict already exists within a family dynamic, naming one sibling as an executor may lead to protracted battles when settling an estate. Even though additional costs may be required, having a bank or attorney serve in this capacity can eliminate potential problems.
- Strive for equality. Sometimes evenly splitting an account does not represent true equalization among siblings. For instance, a parent may have given a large sum of money to one child before passing away, but did not adjust the will accordingly. Experts advise that children should never be surprised about what is contained in a will and that expectations should be clearly communicated ahead of time.
- Consider a “no contest clause.” In families with particularly difficult relationships, parents may even include a “no contest” clause in their will that would require any child who contests the bequest to forfeit their inheritance.
If you need assistance with ensuring an estate is fairly divided among family members and other loved ones, consult a knowledgeable Florida estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Offices.