In many cases, even when someone has created an estate plan, there is still a chance of an argument starting between siblings and other family members regarding the distribution of assets. Most people in Florida are told that an estate plan is enough, and although it certainly solves other potential problems, it’s not foolproof. The following includes a few ways to help siblings resolve a probate issue.
Stop the problems before they begin
When creating your estate, you’re likely focusing more on your larger assets, such as the family home or certain stocks. However, often, it’s not the larger items that create issues among siblings but smaller, more personal items. For example, siblings may want to keep family heirlooms, such as a family lamp or a painting, to name a few. You can stop the problems from arising by:
- Gifting during your last few years
- Tagging certain items
- Writing a letter of instruction
What if parents pass before making changes?
There are a few more ways to deal with sibling probate issues if the parents pass away before making any changes. If you have not started the process, you may want to opt to bring in a mediator. A mediator will be a third party with no bias who will speak with everyone involved to try to reach an agreement. This is often the best route to take as it can save everyone thousands in court fees. Other ways you can resolve issues include:
- Taking turns choosing items
- Through a lottery system
- Bringing in an independent fiduciary
Although the suggestions above are helpful for avoiding or resolving probate issues, it is still recommended to work with an estate planning litigation attorney. A lawyer may be able to explain to you the rights and options you have to avoid other family members taking advantage of you.