Siblings can be our closest family members. But when it comes to litigation over family property or money, genetics can fall by the wayside and siblings can quickly become our biggest adversaries.
Do these song lyrics hold true about siblings?
Hey brother! There's an endless road to rediscover
Hey sister! Know the water's sweet but blood is thicker
Oh, if the sky comes falling down, for you
There's nothing in this world I wouldn't do
Maybe so, in some instances. Siblings will often protect each other against anyone else in the world. However, they also have a tendency to compete against each other, especially when it comes to their parents' estate.
Siblings can be hyper-alert to any slight and any perceived favoritism shown by their parents. Managing how siblings interact is often one of the most difficult parenting tasks when the children are growing up.
It does not get any easier when the children are adults and the parents are trying to create an estate plan.
This conundrum is the subject of a recent Private Wealth article titled "Blood Feuds."
The biggest issue can be when children believe a sibling is more loved by their parents. It is not always true, but the perception exists. And perception is reality to the perceiver.
When preparing an estate plan, naming one child as an executor or trustee can bring out this perception. The other children often then look for things the designated child might be doing wrong.
This, in turn, can lead to sibling feuds over the estate.
When creating your estate plan carefully consider how your children interact and how they all will react to your decisions with the estate.
Better yet, consult an experienced estate planning attorney regarding how to craft an estate plan to avoid sibling feuds.