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Probate administration may prove volatile for siblings

Few things stir up past rivalries or open old wounds more than the events that take place after parents have died. Probate administration can bring out the worst in siblings, and dormant family issues may lead an otherwise peaceful distribution of assets to a heated courtroom battle. There are several ways in which parents in Oklahoma may unwittingly contribute to this tension.

Many believe that equal distribution of assets is not always fair. If one child already has a substantial amount of money, parents may attempt to level the playing field by leaving less to the more successful child. While the wealthier child certainly may not need more money, the underlying feeling of unfairness may cause him or her to contest the will and call for litigation on the matter.

Often, one child may stay close to the parents and render care and support. If that child receives more from the estate, there may arise suspicions of undue influence or other misuse of power. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for one sibling to take advantage of a vulnerable parent for his or her own gain. These situations may occur whether the siblings are close or not, and if they require litigation to resolve, the familial relationships may be forever damaged.

If parents die without a will, probate administration may be even more complicated. Some siblings in Oklahoma are able to settle asset distribution without dispute or resentment, but this can never be guaranteed. This is why the counsel of an attorney is beneficial. Having a knowledgeable lawyer to protect their rights and guide them through the process is recommended for any estate planning issue.

Source: metrowestdailynews.com, "Sibling rivalry in probate disputes", Patricia L. Davidson, Accessed on Jan. 27, 2017

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