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6 Tips To Avoid Or Resolve Probate Disputes – Siblings Guide!

Disputes among siblings over estate matters after the death of parents are common. It happens in almost every other probate case. However, in some cases, the disputes become so big that they can cause long legal battles and irreparable damage to family relationships.

The best way to avoid or resolve this situation is to take every step carefully. You need to be open to communication about every matter and seek professional help. There are many other helpful ways, which you can read below.

These tips have proven helpful for our clients, and we’re sure they’ll benefit you, too. So, let’s find out how siblings can avoid or resolve probate disputes.

Is It Common For Siblings To Fight Over Inheritance?

Yes, it’s common for siblings to fight over inheritance, and it doesn’t necessarily happen with bad intentions. Sometimes, siblings have different interpretations of their parents’ wishes, which they want to come true. 

Also, siblings often have different mindsets and priorities, leading to disputes. For example, one sibling may want to hold onto the family house because of the memories, while another may want to sell it because those memories bring pain or because they’ve financial needs.

So it’s all a matter of perspective. What is important is protecting relationships and solving internal disputes peacefully. If you’re a parent, we suggest you seek the help of a professional estate planning lawyer so your assets can be passed on without any major issues.

However, if you’ve been facing problems with probate cases with your siblings, the answer is below in the tips.

6 Tips To Avoid  Probate Disputes Among Siblings

Let’s discuss the tips that can help avoid probate disputes and ensure you maintain a good relationship with your sibling.

1. Hire A Professional Mediator

The first and most important tip is to hire a professional mediator. A mediator is someone who mediates between two parties so they can negotiate effectively and come to a solution that benefits both.

In probate cases, a professional mediator can help clarify misunderstandings and manage the tensions between both parties. They’ll oversee the entire case from a neutral point of view, ensuring that discussions remain productive and focused on finding a fair resolution.

2. Communicate With Your Siblings

If you don’t want to hire a mediator for the probate case, it’s best to communicate with your siblings as much as possible. Don’t hide any details about the assets; maintain transparency throughout the process. 

The more you’re transparent about the joint estate, the more your siblings will trust and share their ideas. It would be best to have a family discussion once a week about the court hearings. The meetings can be held at home or via video conference if in-person meetings aren’t feasible.

3. Respect Your Siblings Opinion

Remember to respect your sibling’s opinion regardless of whether it is right or wrong. Showing respect is crucial; individuals who neglect this point always face difficulty in the probate process. 

Respect encourages a healthy environment for discussion. If you listen attentively and respect your siblings, they will feel much more comfortable discussing their ideas and thoughts.

4. Liquidate Assets

There’s nothing wrong if your siblings and you have different plans about the estate. In this situation, liquidate assets instead of holding onto the assets, which will worsen your relationship with your siblings.

Liquidate assets convert non-liquid assets like real estate, vehicles, arts, etc., into liquid by selling them in an open market. This way, you and all your siblings will get their share of the money.

5. Respect Emotional Attachments

Respect emotional attachments. Your siblings may want to hold onto assets like art collectibles, jewelry from your mother, etc. In this case, it’s best to discuss your viewpoint to avoid future problems.

If selling a joint asset is necessary, instead of selling it to a stranger, you can sell it to a sibling who has emotional attachments. This way, you can get your share of the money while honoring the sentimental values of your siblings.

6. Seek Legal Advice & Create Estate Plan

Remember to ask for legal help whenever you feel stuck in the probate process. If your parents are alive, you can encourage them to create an estate plan. This will protect your relationship with your siblings in the future and ensure a smooth transfer of assets rights.

Effective estate planning, such as drafting a Will or creating a Trust, allows parents to clearly outline their wishes regarding asset distribution. This approach minimizes the likelihood of disputes, as everything will be written in an estate plan.

Final Thoughts

We shared six simple tips on how siblings can avoid or resolve probate disputes. You can easily avoid the issues by following the tips, hiring a mediator, communicating, respecting their wishes, emotional attachment, etc. 

If you need more help, contact our estate planning or probate lawyers. Our experienced lawyers can help you navigate the probate process smoothly.

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Dustin MacFarlane’s primary focus is on Elder Law and protecting families and seniors. He is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Specialization — a rare distinction.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. MacFarlane worked in the Long Term Care industry. After becoming licensed to practice law in January of 2009, Elder Law quickly became his focus. Seeing the need during his former career, Mr. MacFarlane pursued Elder Law as a primary area of practice.

By Dustin MacFarlane

Dustin MacFarlane’s primary focus is on Elder Law and protecting families and seniors. He is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Specialization — a rare distinction.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. MacFarlane worked in the Long Term Care industry. After becoming licensed to practice law in January of 2009, Elder Law quickly became his focus. Seeing the need during his former career, Mr. MacFarlane pursued Elder Law as a primary area of practice.