If you and your siblings do not get along, a parent’s passing can be not only sorrowful but stressful. Even the mere thought of facing probate and administering your parent’s estate can be overwhelming.
It is important to carefully evaluate your situation, and prepare yourself and your family as you move forward to reduce the stress you face.
If possible, have a conversation together
Every family is different. Therefore, every sibling relationship is different. Perhaps you and your sibling just do not click, or you constantly compete with each other in a rivalry. Both situations might make you worry about how the probate process will play out.
If at all possible, it is helpful to sit down with your siblings before probate begins to discuss your situation. It might be a difficult conversation. However, talking it out before probate can enable you to move forward as a united front in some cases.
For example, many cases of sibling rivalry stem from the parent’s behavior. Some parents might fuel the rivalry, show favoritism or encourage an unhealthy level of competition between siblings. Sitting down with your siblings, despite your differences, and discussing the situation might help you reach an agreement to work together.
Tips as you move forward with probate
Even if you have a conversation with your siblings, the risk of conflict remains. It is important to:
- Know what to expect: Get a basic understanding of the probate process, regardless of whether or not you are the appointed executor, trustee or personal representative. Knowing what the process generally entails in California can help you prepare.
- Understand the duties in probate: On that note, it is important to understand the roles and duties of an executor, trustee and personal representative, whether or not you take on any of these roles. This can help you protect yourself and your parent’s wishes, no matter the situation.
- Strategize conflict-resolution: Research and consider ways you can manage conflict effectively. Perhaps you might enlist a third-party, such as a mediator or family counselor to help you work through conflict in a productive manner. It may also help to speak with an attorney beforehand, to understand your rights and options moving forward.
- Mentally prepare yourself: If there is a risk of conflict, you should have a plan for how you will care for your well-being during this time. Make sure you have a support system, whether that is your own family or friends. Prioritize self-care during this stressful and emotional time.
It will not be easy to overcome years of rivalry or disconnect with siblings. However, it is important to know how you can move forward and handle any conflict in probate effectively.