Family Disputes Over Inheritance: How to Arrive to a Peaceful Resolution Over Inheritance

Blood is not always thicker than water. When money is involved, people, regardless of whether they are members of the same family, would fight.

So, when a parent or a grandparent dies, and it is time to split inheritance to heirs, things become complicated. Affection between siblings disappear and past issues come out of the woodwork. Accusations start flying from every direction, leaving everyone angry and, perhaps, ruining their relationship forever.

What a Will Can Do

Parents can avoid an ugly conflict between heirs by writing a will. Consult a firm that specializes in estate law like Just Wills and Legal Services to plan where your properties would go after your death. You can review and make adjustments on your will every few years or so, but it would be best to write one as soon as possible so that, in the event of an accident or illness, you are ready.

It will not completely save your heirs from fighting over a valuable property in the future. Your children may contest what they or do not get. However, if the will is valid and legally-binding, the court would decide to honor your last wishes.

Using a Mediator

Mediation is a way to resolve a dispute without going to court. A neutral third person, the mediator, will come in to guide two or more individuals to negotiate and arrive at a satisfactory solution. The goal is to work toward a settlement, avoiding the high costs that come from regular trials and hearings.

In familial disagreements around the estate, the heirs, through their lawyers or themselves, will appoint a mediator. The mediator will speak to the parties involved to help them have a realistic examination of the situation and hopefully reach a resolution where everyone is happy.

Both parties will have to split the cost of appointing a mediator.

Keep Communication Lines Open

A family that goes through conflict over a will (or lack of) does not have to forever be disconnected and feuding. There is a way to heal the relationship fractured by an estate battle, but that involves open communication.

You cannot control how others would react. However, it only becomes a shouting match when both parties could not control their emotions and attack each other. You can deescalate the situation by being calm, even when your sibling or aunt is angry and accusatory.

Listen actively to the other party. People go furious when they do not feel that they are being heard. That is when voices grow louder. Even if you disagree with their point, let them speak. You should also use uniting language, emphasizing “we” and “our” whenever you discuss the situation.

If you, too, start to become overwhelmed, pause and take a deep breath. You cannot have a fruitful conversation if you, and the other party, cannot be calm.

Be Empathetic

A conflict between family members does not always happen because a sibling is greedy. There must be a reason why one party thinks that the division of a deceased’s properties is not fair.

Having everyone share their feelings and opinions would dispel misunderstandings and repair relationships. It would allow all parties involved to create a solution that benefits everyone.

It is tough to fight with family over inheritance. Leaving a will would help avoid conflicts in the future but, if heirs battle over estate, a mediator can help.