Estate battles can happen after the parent or the owner of the estate dies. Especially when there are no proper directions as to the distribution of the estate, the heirs may be fighting with each other as to who gets this, and who gets that. Even in the presence of a will or an estate agreement, there could still arise a dispute when certain heirs contest what they and the other heirs receive.
No matter how well the deceased may have prepared for their demise by giving clear instructions on the asset distribution, they can never really tell what goes on in the minds of the heirs once they’re left with certain assets. When disputes arise, it’s now up to each party to learn how to handle the battle amicably and well enough to avoid the situation of family relationships getting destroyed or broken up by the greed and spite which may arise out of estate battles.
If you’re facing any estate battle at the moment, you may find these tips useful in handling those disputes:
1. Consult A Lawyer and Mediator
Estate battles, especially one that arise between siblings, can be challenging. Your estate battle should never get in the way of maintaining a happy and amicable relationship with your siblings, especially during challenging times, like your parent’s death. So, you’ll want to keep the estate contention as objective as possible.
One way you can achieve this is through consulting a top rated family law attorneys serving Denver metro area and a mediator, or wherever you’re from. With a lawyer and a mediator, you can bring the whole family together, to help reach a consensus in the situation. These two professionals may also help the family avoid long and costly court battles, which is quite common with estate disputes.
If you’re concerned about why you should have to spend for a lawyer just to prove that you’re entitled to a certain part of the estate, the truth is that having a lawyer and a mediator may save your estate and save you more money in the long run. Estate battles can be long and costly, and if you don’t make a resolve to fix the issue with your siblings or other heirs early on, you may just hurt the value of the estate in such a way that you’re dissipating a huge chunk off its value because of the dispute.
2. Consider Liquidating All The Assets
In many cases, the problems in estate plan division and battles arise when one heir receives certain properties and that certain heir alleges that the properties they received are worth so much less than what the others receive. This is quite common because inherently, different properties will have different market values.
To be fair about it, if there’s a surviving spouse, a good way to handle any estate battle that some children may now be alleging is to liquidate the assets. This means selling all the assets so that there’s liquid cash. And what the heirs will have now is a division, in equal sharing, of the proceeds.
3. Refer The Matter To An Independent Fiduciary
If a sibling or an heir has been appointed as a trustor or executor of the property, another fair solution to handle any estate battle is to defer the asset division to an independent fiduciary. This is a third-party fiduciary which now holds the responsibility of making decisions on the asset distributions. Having a third-party fiduciary as the executor of the estate can avoid any potential conflict that may arise from the siblings and can only complicate the matter even more.
In this kind of process, the sibling or heir appointed as the executor or trustor of the estate should formally decline the appointment. By doing so, all the other heirs can decide unanimously on appointing an independent fiduciary to do that job. This fiduciary can be another trusted member of the family, a lawyer, an accountant, or a representative of a bank’s trust department.
4. Divide Household Items Fairly
As small as the matter may be, even little household items can be a cause of dispute among siblings. While financially, the value of those items may not be much, to children of deceased parents, some items may have sentimental value. They now desire to keep those certain items in their respective households.
To avoid any dispute regarding these small items, a good way to divide those little things is to take turns picking and choosing. Have a day where all heirs are present in each property. Then, take turns choosing what items each one of you will want to bring home.
With the tips above, you may now be more successful in solving your estate battles. The shorter the battle is, the better it’s going to be, for the sake of keeping the family’s relationship intact. In many instances, the longer the estate battle goes on, the more expensive it’s also going to be.
Surely, that’s not the outcome you hope to have for what you would’ve otherwise received, without the estate battle. In an already challenging time, unnecessary drama should be the least of the added concerns of the family.