Avoiding conflicts and in-fighting among probate beneficiaries 

Most people don’t think about it, and don’t want to. But families are shattered over estate battles all the time, ripped apart by in-fighting and arguments about how it should be settled. 

The truth is that grief can do really funny things to people. It can make us act impulsively, lash out in anger, or withdraw completely from the world. And in some cases, it causes in-fighting among our friends and loved ones.

Keeping peace among beneficiaries may be one of the most important things you can do during this difficult time.

It’s important to remember that your loved ones may be hurting, too. Be patient with them and understand that their behavior is not necessarily a reflection of how they feel about you.

It is also important to realize that added stress put on your mind, heart, and body can actually draw out the healing process, causing increased grief and heartache, even pausing the natural process altogether.

Here are some tips for maintaining healthy relationships with your loved ones after a loss…

  1. Give your loved ones some space. Respect their need for time and privacy as they work through their own grief.
  2. Be understanding if they are moody, irritable, or withdrawn. Grief can cause all sorts of emotions to surface.
  3. Do not take their outbursts personally. It is not about you.
  4. Offer your support in any way you can. Whether it’s listening, helping with funeral arrangements, or just being there for them, let them know that you are available.
  5. Avoid putting added stress on yourself. This will only prolong the healing process and cause more pain for everyone involved.
  6. Remember that grief is a unique process for everyone. What works for one person may not work for another. Be patient and let them find their own way through it.
  7. Be there for your loved ones as long as they need you. Grief can be a long and difficult process.
  8. If there is a will or estate, make time to talk to your loved one about divvying up assets or moving forward in probate. For example, ask: “What do you think they would have wanted us to do with it?” This simple conversation can avoid future family in-fighting.
  9. Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Grieving is hard work and it’s easy to neglect your own needs in favor of those of your loved ones. But you need to be strong in order to support them. So make sure you find time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes each day to relax and recharge.

How to talk with the heirs to avoid the unimaginable

If you’re lucky, your parents have already created and left behind an estate plan that outlines how they want their assets divided up after they die. But what if they haven’t? What if there’s no will or trust in place? If that’s the case, it’ll be up to the siblings to figure out how to divide everything up. This can often lead to conflict and fighting, so it’s important to come into any discussions about the estate with an open mind and a willingness to compromise.

By talking with the heirs and getting their thoughts and feelings, you can help avoid conflict and ensure that everyone is on board with what’s happening. If there are any disagreements, you can work to resolve them before they become a bigger issue. Having an open and positive conversation with the heirs is essential for a smooth estate transfer.

Here are some conversation starters to work with:

  • How do you feel about the estate?
  • What are our top priorities?
  • What are your thoughts on dividing up the assets?
  • Do you have any ideas about what should happen with specific items or property?
  • What are your thoughts on taking care of the family home?
  • Do you have any questions for me?
  • How do we think our parents would have wanted us to split everything up?
  • Is there anything specific that has important sentimental value to you? 
  • What are our parents’ most prized possessions?
  • What are our parents’ biggest debts?
  • Do any of us want to take on the responsibility of executor or trustee?
  • How much money does each of us think we should get?
  • Should we sell any assets in order to pay off debts or divide the money equally?
  • How much input would you like to have in the process?

Remember, it’s important to come into these talks with an open mind and be willing to compromise so that everyone involved feels like they got a fair shake.

Getting probate help should be easy

Going through probate here in West Hills, CA, can be tough, and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. There are resources available to help you make purposeful decisions and keep you and your family from being taken advantage of in your unique situation. Click here to schedule a worry-free conversation and get all of your questions answered.