How to Defuse Common Probate Flashpoints

man and woman arguing, How to Defuse Common Probate FlashpointsAfter the death of a loved one, old family wounds can be reopened. Grudges and unresolved fights can cause bigger issues when it comes time to settle your parent’s estate. Siblings have been known to have estate disputes and feuds over furniture and even books. In many cases, one family member hires a probate attorney to fight for what they believe is rightfully theirs. This may lead to a court hearing, which could cause an even bigger rift between siblings. Here are some tips on how to defuse common probate flashpoints.

Related Article: What Types of Assets Are Subject to Probate?


As an executor, you may not be able to fully control if your family fights over their inheritance. In some cases, siblings argue favoritism. They claim that parents chose an executor based on who they loved the most, not who was most qualified. This immediately creates distrust in the executor’s ability to make wise decisions.

When that is the case, a clear line of communication can be the key to defusing the situation. Let your siblings and other family members involved know that there will be some decisions you would like their input on. You can minimize future resentment by being sensitive to their opinions and feelings.

Related Article: How to Help Siblings Avoid an Estate Battle

Unfair Distribution

Dealing with family dynamics can be difficult. Many siblings bring their childhood rivalries and resentments with them. Family members will fight over which of their parent’s assets rightfully belong to them even if it’s not in the will. As an executor, it can be difficult to be unbiased and follow the details outlined in your parent’s will. Even if it’s a small request, changing the directions left by your parents can be a risk.

If you know your family will have a difficult time coming to an agreement or handling big decisions in a civil manner, it’s a good idea to have a third party present. An estate attorney or private fiduciary can act as an unbiased confidant to help resolve fights over an inheritance.

Related Article: The Difference Between a Private and Professional Fiduciary

Set Up Boundaries

Managing your parent’s estate while still grieving yourself can feel overwhelming. Your siblings can be your biggest critics. They may have strong opinions on how you should handle your parent’s assets and how much time you should spend on legal matters. Constant criticism can put a large amount of pressure on executors and cause physical health problems. It’s essential to take care of yourself, too during this process. 

Set aside specific days or times that you will deal with probate issues and communicate with your family. It’s crucial not to fully consume yourself in these legal manners and forget to live your life. Everyone processes grief differently, but it’s imperative that you give yourself all the time you need. 


We understand the hefty responsibility of managing your parent’s estate, especially when you have a big family. 

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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