5 Signs Your Family Will Fight Over Your Estate

couple in front of house, 5 Signs Your Family Will Fight Over Your EstateAs seniors age, many lose their ability to properly manage their finances. Children or siblings are required to step in and take on these responsibilities. If you don’t have a plan, your family could potentially fight over your estate when you’re gone. 

Here are some signs that your family might have disputes over your assets.


Sign #1 – Missing a Trust Document

A living trust is a legal document that defines how to manage your belongings and property when you pass away or are incapacitated The individual or trustee you name in this document will decide what happens with all your assets. Setting up a trust document is important to give direction to your family and friends when you’re gone. Without it, your trustee could be making decisions that are not in your best interest.

Related Article: How Can I Help My Parents Set Up a Living Trust?

Sign #2 – There Are Multiple Beneficiaries

In many families, the oldest children tend to have the most responsibility and decision making power. If you have multiple children who generally don’t see eye to eye, there could be conflict managing your estate when you pass away. It’s important to layout clear directions in a will or trust for your children. This could help them with having clear communication and being supportive of one another in their time of grief. In cases where siblings disagree, we recommend hiring an experienced CPA to handle trust accounting.

Sign #3 – You Are Assigned As Co-Trustees

In some families, co-trustees are assigned to a pair of siblings. A trustee is given the power to make executive decisions on your behalf. Shared duties could lead to disagreements and make managing your estate impossible. It’s important to only have one trustee assigned to manage all of your assets.

Sign #4 – Estrangement Between Family Members

Over the years, siblings can lose touch with their parents and each other. This can cause friction when a parent passes away. Siblings may be less willing to discuss how to handle dealing with their parent’s belongings and may not have their parent’s best interest in mind. In cases where you don’t feel you have a family member or friend you can trust with managing your assets, a professional fiduciary may be the answer. A professional fiduciary is a CPA, attorney, or institution that is hired to manage your estate when you die or become incapacitated. They will function as a representative and a trustworthy executor.

Related Article: Who Can I Name as Executor When I Have No Family or Friends I Trust?

Sign #5 – Your Loved One Had a Mental Illness

Many people are afflicted with mental ailments or illnesses as they age. Alzheimer’s is one of the predominant diseases that directly affect the brain. If your loved one suffered from dementia or Alzheimers, this could be a potential issue when it comes to managing their estate. At some point, they may lose their independence and need assistance from a senior living facility or family member. This may cloud their decision-making process and force a caretaker to take on the full responsibility of managing assets as they see fit.

Related Article: How Attorney’s Can Help Clients with Alzheimer’s or Dementia


We understand that conflict can arise with grieving family and friends. We want to ensure that you and your family at set up for success in the future. 


At Marcia L. Campbell, CPA, we are trusted advisors for many of our clients. If you have any questions that we can help answer, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 951-686-3608.

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