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Avoiding contested estates

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Estate Disputes

When a parent with more than one adult child passes away, family disputes over how the assets should be divided might arise. There are some steps that Oklahoma parents can take before they die to minimize the chances their children’s relationships with each other will degenerate and become conflict-filled when dealing with their parent’s real estate holdings. Adult children whose parents have already passed away can also take steps to resolve conflicts that might arise.

Steps for parents to prevent familial conflict

While a parent is still alive, they can create a will or trust and clearly specify which of their children should receive each major asset or if the assets should be sold with the proceeds evenly divided between the siblings. Parents can also leave a letter of instruction explaining their wishes for how other items should be distributed, including mementos, family pictures, and other similar items. If a child will be disinherited, the parent should explain why in their will. Designating someone other than a child to serve as an executor of the parent’s estate or as the trustee of their trust can also help to avoid hard feelings between the siblings.

Ways for siblings to resolve conflicts

If a parent has already passed away, the siblings can take steps to resolve any conflicts that might arise to avoid contested estates. They might work through major disagreements with the help of a mediator or agree to sell the real estate and split the proceeds evenly. If one sibling has been chosen to be the executor or trustee, they can decline and instead ask for the appointment of a third-party fiduciary to prevent potential conflict.

Avoiding conflict when settling a parent’s estate is important for preserving the family’s relationships. Doing so can also help the children to minimize the expenses that might otherwise be involved in estate litigation that could potentially deplete the value of their parent’s estate.