Avoiding sibling squabbles in estate administration

On Behalf of | May 21, 2020 | Estate Administration |

When a parent dies, sadly, often the grown children bicker and fight over whom should get which assets from the estate. These sibling disputes can be costly, are deeply emotional and can potentially cause long-lasting rifts among once-close brothers and sisters. Many of us in Albuquerque have probably seen it ourselves in the lives of friends and relatives. These ugly battles can be challenging for everyone involved, especially if you’re the one sibling chosen as the personal representative or executor of your parent’s estate.

What you can do

Since splitting the assets is often one of the biggest points of contention, here are some helpful strategies you may want to consider to try to reduce sibling squabbles and hard feelings over asset division:

  • Inventory: Be sure to identify all the assets of the estate.
  • Be as fair as possible: Take turns claiming household belongings or set up a lottery system to distribute contested items.
  • Liquidate: Sell any assets claimed by multiple siblings and split the proceeds.
  • Call a professional: Hire a mediator to negotiate and find solutions among siblings.
  • Get a fiduciary: You and your siblings can choose another family member or professional they all agree upon to be the fiduciary to handle distributing the assets.
  • Don’t forget taxes: You may have to file estate and gift taxes, plus state and federal income taxes. Remember, no sibling will want to pay more taxes than others.

When siblings squabble over the estate, sometimes they will resort to unlawful means to get the assets they believe they deserve, such as stealing items from the house or keeping assets secret. When this happens or when a dispute is fierce enough, lengthy legal actions could be a result.

Seek assistance

No matter how the administration of your parent’s estate is going, it can be a benefit to talk to an experienced Albuquerque attorney who can help you understand the legal process, your options and your rights and responsibilities under New Mexico law.