Despite the fact that many feel money or objects will never be an issue for their family, the inheritance can be a major source of strife among siblings. Even if there is little money to be shared in the inheritance, siblings can fight over sentimental family heirlooms.
Any inheritance that is unequally divided among siblings can be a painful experience and can damage relationships because the reality is that we equate a parent’s consideration of us in their will with love.
The most important thing to do to avoid this conflict is to have your parent clearly outline their wishes in their will so that you can use the document as a reference for when they are no longer able to make those decisions.
As well, it is helpful if your parent can explain their decisions to your family themselves. If they are already unable to make these decisions and there is no surviving spouse, the law will divide their assets evenly among their surviving children. However, conflict can still arise as siblings have emotional connection to mementos like your mother’s wedding china set or your father’s beloved guitar.
One way to mediate a conflict over inheritance is to have a family meeting with a trained counsellor. Clear communication facilitated by a professional early on in the dispute will help everyone identify their feelings behind the inheritance and heirlooms in order to find an agreeable solution.
Have you had a conflict over inheritance? How did you resolve it? We’d love to hear your stories in the comment section or you can send it anonymously to firstname.lastname@example.org.