When doing estate planning in New York, there are many factors you have to keep in mind, but one thing that often goes overlooked is sibling rivalry. No parent wants to think that his or her children are going to fight over money or property. However, this is something that happens on a regular basis.
The reasons for this are many. For one thing, when a parent passes away, children who may have been dealing with issues for years sometimes allow those things to grow. They can revisit past wrongs or try to get more of the estate to “even the score.”
Another reason this happens is that children often link money, possessions and love. They get their value from what they are given, and so each child wants to be given the most to feel like the parent loved them the most. Along the same lines, a child who feels like he or she got far less than the rest of the family may be angered and slighted by this, equating it with a lack of affection.
Furthermore, siblings might think that their brothers and sisters were putting pressure on the parent before the passing, trying to get more than everyone else. This can especially become a problem when one child lives near the parent and the other has moved to a different state or a different country. There could be a lack of trust there, with the child who is so far removed feeling he or she is at a disadvantage.
Be sure that you account for these dynamics when you are doing your estate planning.
Source: TheStreet, “5 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Make,” Jason Notte, July 13, 2015