Toxic Siblings After Their Parent’s Death

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“A sibling does not have legal rights to inheritance unless both parents have died. The surviving spouse may also be able to claim inheritance rights if they become mentally incompetent. Whether the parents left a will determines the circumstances surrounding their inheritance rights. Despite a will, a toxic sibling relationship or dealing with an estranged sibling can still cause problems.”

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Toxic Siblings After Their Parent’s Death

If you are responsible for executing your parents’ assets and trusts, it is crucial to know your siblings’ rights after their parents’ passing. This article discusses dealing with Toxic Siblings After Their Parent’s Death.


What Are Siblings’ Rights After Parents’ Death?

After the death of a parent, siblings’ rights can be complicated and vary. Nonetheless, inheritance issues are among the most important ones they must handle.

An only child’s inheritance rights are relatively straightforward, but the situation becomes much more difficult if you have siblings. Inheritance rights can differ greatly depending on individual, specific circumstances. If you’re planning an estate, it is important to understand sibling inheritance laws as much as possible.


How Can Parents Divvy Up Minor Items?

There can be a long-lasting effect on a family when a dispute arises over a treasured but valueless picture. It is wise to take specific steps to avoid disputes after a parent passes away to prevent siblings from arguing over household items or other minor items.


Give Gifts During Lifetime

The parent may wish to distribute their everything before they die. A parent might gift rings, bracelets, and necklaces to each daughter as a birthday or holiday gift, for example, if they have two daughters.

Assume the value of the items is less than the annual gift tax exclusion in 2022 and 2023, and you can use this gifting strategy. As a result, tax filers can give away up to $16,000 or $17,000 per person without paying taxes.1 Items worth more must be reported to the IRS and may be subject to the gift tax.


Tag Items

Putting tags on important items, like lithographs or first-edition books, may sound tacky, but it can be helpful. The label should identify who will inherit it after the parent dies. Even though the tag does not obligate the sibling to receive the item, it indicates the parent’s intent and can help avoid sibling spats in the future.


Write a Letter of Instruction

Parents can write letters of instruction outlining who gets what. Again, a letter of instruction is not legally binding but serves as a guide to the parent’s wishes.


Are You Worried About a Toxic Sibling? Here’s What You Need to Know.


Trust laws are unknown to them.

It’s like having a second parent, except they want to control how you handle your estate rather than telling you what to do with your life. Whenever you are the executor, you need to prepare for them to ignore your role and try to dictate what you should do with the assets. You may even have to play the favorites card to get them a larger share of the assets.


They are always there to blame you.

In the process of executing trusts and wills, siblings often clash. If there’s one thing siblings agree on, it’s that they want what’s fair. However, what happens if one feels cheated?

Often, the other sibling can get out of the deal. There is always a way for a sibling who gets less, whether due to transparency or unequal asset distribution, to claim what they feel is rightfully held.


They make discouraging comments.

The criticisms from your sibling are the most hurtful because they know you better than anyone else. They may say anything to prove you cannot be the estate executor. Toxic siblings may make cutting remarks regarding physical, financial, or job obstacles. These comments might be cutting remarks concerning physical problems, financial difficulties, or job obstacles.


They are deceptive

In dealing with toxic siblings, you should expect conflicts over transactions that involve them. They will easily rally other siblings to contest a valid trust.


How To Deal with Toxic Family Members?

You have now learned what toxic siblings might be capable of, so you need to prepare. To begin with, you should:


Deal with Toxic Family Members.


Document all relevant information

To prove your entitlement to inheritance and settle inheritance disputes, you’ll need to find life insurance policies, bank statements, and property records your parents may have had.


Verify the legitimacy of the executor.

Some people may find it shocking that things aren’t easy when your parents die. You’ll have to figure out who gets what, and if you’re lucky enough to be named in the will or trust, you may have to take on the role of executor or trustee.

So, if you’re hoping to spend your inheritance in a fun manner, you should reconsider. Managing your parents’ assets is your responsibility, so if you want to spend your inheritance on fun things, you should reconsider.


Consult a lawyer

A lawyer is best if you suspect the will is forged or contains omissions. In addition, they can clarify your rights, tell you about the legal process, and help resolve any problems that may arise during the probate process. If you wish to arbitrate an out-of-court agreement, you will also need a lawyer.


Discuss the assets of the trust.

Even if there are no legal responsibilities surrounding asset distribution, siblings should agree on how they will distribute assets before probate begins. Your parents’ wishes can be unambiguous on record, but there might be points of contention or murky sections that require a one-on-one discussion. A probate lawyer can facilitate these discussions.


Systematically distribute sentimental properties.

An opportunistic sibling may exploit the situation to keep her parent’s belongings. If your parent passes away, splitting up their belongings may prove difficult, especially if there are items of sentimental value.

This can be avoided by listing all valuables and reinvesting them into the estate. In addition, you can sell sentimental assets and distribute the proceeds among your siblings. This way, everyone has a fair share, and conflicts do not arise.


Divide the family inheritance systematically.

Especially if their parents fought over something, toxic siblings often want what their parents did. If you’re the executor, you should deal with these items first. Please list the items and who wants them to avoid arguments. You can determine the most pressing problem by including why they want it.


How Can Siblings Divide Household Items?

It is possible to make distributing household items fairer for each sibling by doing a few things.


Take Turns

For example, Jude, River, and Charley have strong ideas about what they want. They each pick a desired item using this strategy. Choose one item for Jude (the oldest) and one for River (the middle child), then Charley (the youngest).


Use a Lottery

Describe each item on a slip of paper (for instance, grandmother’s photo in the silver frame). Please ensure the slips are in a hat, and siblings can draw them until they are empty.


Final Thoughts

Leaving a will or trust behind for a parent makes life easier when they pass away. It is the probate court that must decide how to distribute the property. As an executor, you should look for potential problems, such as estranged or toxic siblings, to avoid disputes. If there is no will, the distribution of the property has to be decided by the probate court.

Attorney Real Estate Group can answer your questions about inheritance rights. However, you should contact a probate lawyer if you have any doubts.

Alec Stroup

ALEC STROUP Associate Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Alec...

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Bio...