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Siblings shouldn't have to fight over an estate

You and your siblings have had a big problem since your parents passed away: a dispute over the estate. Estate litigation can easily tear a family apart, so you want to do what you can to resolve the conflict quickly.

Fortunately, many people have been through situations like this before. That means that there are plenty of ways that you can work through this.

How can you avoid sibling disputes after a parent's death?

One big reason that sibling disputes take place is due to a sense of being treated unfairly. For example, if one sister receives $20,000 from the estate while the other receives $50,000, the sister with less may think it's unfair and that her parents didn't treat her equally to her sibling. However, if you later look into the situation and find that the first sibling had a gift of $30,000 given to her by her parents years earlier, then it would make more sense.

Siblings who are dealing with what appears to be an unfair situation may want to talk with the offended sibling about what they can do to make things right. If a parent truly was unfair, you may choose to take the higher road and offer your sibling a fair share of the distributions. You could also stick to what the will says, which would also be legal.

How can parents help prevent sibling disputes over their assets in the future?

Parents can help prevent sibling disputes by including details about the distribution of assets in their will or other legal documents. Discussing why assets are divided the way they are is essential.

It's a good idea for parents to talk to their children about the distributions, too. If possible, having a family discussion is a good way to do this.

When a parent passes away, there is no question that it leaves a void for the children who are left behind. The last thing that void should be filled with is animosity against their siblings. By taking a few steps in advance to explain the distributions, parents can help minimize the risk of a legal contest involving the estate.

If you are a sibling who has been left out of a will or who is caught up in a dispute, then you may want to look into your legal rights and obligations, so you can decide on the best way to resolve the issues you're dealing with.

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