How Can Siblings Avoid Or Resolve Probate Disputes?
Often, after a parent dies, sibling disputes arise during the estate administration process, also known as the probate process. Unfortunately, probate disputes with siblings can cause permanent rifts. Also, disputes arising between siblings during probate can result in lengthy and expensive legal actions. This article discusses some of the most common causes of sibling disputes during probate and how siblings can avoid or resolve probate disputes.
Common Causes of Sibling Disputes During Probate
Disputes between siblings can occur for various reasons during the probate process. For example, disputes can arise because of an unequal distribution of assets. If a parent chooses to award one sibling more assets than the other(s), a dispute could arise even if the unequal distribution is justified. For example, a parent may decide on an unequal distribution of estate assets because one child cared for them while they were sick, and the other(s) rarely visited them. But whether or not the unequal distribution is justified, most people usually equate the amount of inheritance their parent leaves them with how much their parent loved them. If one sibling receives more inheritance than the other(s), the sibling(s) with less inheritance may feel angry, upset, unloved, or rejected.
Probate disputes between siblings can also arise because of other things that have nothing to do with inheritances. For example, if one sibling is the estate executor, the other sibling(s) could become resentful and begin raising issues with how their sibling is managing the estate.
Probate disputes often arise between siblings who have had issues for a long time. However, even siblings who have always been close can disagree during probate.
How Can Siblings Avoid or Resolve Probate Disputes?
The following are some tips that can help siblings avoid or resolve probate disputes;
Tip #1: Use a Mediator
When sibling disputes arise during probate, going to court might seem like the only way to proceed. However, sibling disputes can be resolved through alternative dispute resolution. One example of alternative dispute resolution that can help siblings resolve probate disputes is mediation. Mediation involves sitting with a professional third-party called a mediator. The role of the mediator is to facilitate communication between the disputing parties and help them understand the issues. The role of the mediator is to help the disputing parties reach a win-win solution. However, a mediator does not make the final decision.
Tip #2: Liquidate Assets
When siblings want the same assets and can’t agree, a good option might be to sell the assets and share the proceeds. However, before selling any asset, it is vital that you speak to an attorney or tax advisor.
Tip #3: Agree on an Independent Personal Representative
This can help prevent probate disputes between siblings. Just because a parent chose one of their children as executor does not mean the child has to accept the role. While having a close family member serve as a personal representative has numerous benefits, it could also cause resentment. All children can agree on an independent personal representative, such as a trusted lawyer.
Contact a California Probate Attorney
If you need help with the probate process or resolving a probate dispute with siblings, contact the skilled and dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a free telephonic consultation.
Southern California Probate Lawyer Serving Orange, Riverside, Anaheim, Whittier & Beyond.