What to Do When Your Client’s Siblings Threaten a Lawsuit

What to Do When Your Client’s Siblings Threaten a Lawsuit

When one sibling is named the trustee of their parent’s trust, it can put a lot of strain on the family relationships. The trustee may feel overwhelmed with his trustee duties and become resentful that his siblings don’t have the same burden. The siblings may feel slighted that their parents did not choose them to be the trustee. The trustee may experience pressure from impatient siblings who are eager to cash in, and the siblings may blame the trustee for the delay.

When Your Client’s Siblings Threaten a Lawsuit

With emotions running high and inheritances at stake, trustee family conflict is not uncommon. Unfortunately, these conflicts can easily snowball until one or multiple siblings decide to take legal action. As the trustee’s attorney, it is your job to protect your client and their interests when your client’s siblings threaten a lawsuit.

Be Supportive

On top of feuding with their siblings, your client is likely mourning a loss. Your client may be feeling a wide range of emotions, including betrayal, anger, sorrow, confusion, and stress. The best thing you can do for your client is to be supportive. Make sure your client fully grasps the situation and understands all of their options. Work together with your client to come up with a plan that they feel comfortable with.

You may also be interested in: How To Help Elderly Clients in Less Than 15 Minutes

Encourage Communication

Not only should you be encouraging an open line of communication between you and your client, but also between your client and their family. Trustee family conflict is often fueled by miscommunication or by a lack of communication entirely. By the time the family gets to court, the family bonds have likely been broken and those wounds may never heal. A sit down between the trustee, and their siblings may help avoid litigation and save family relationships.

Related article: 3 Tips to Manage the Communication with Your Siblings When You are the Trustee of Your Parent’s Trust

Get Professional Trust Accounting

If your client is being accused of mishandling accounts or failing to perform their fiduciary duty in administering the trust, they could face serious ramifications. If a sibling is threatening to sue your client, trust accounting can provide your client with some protection. As an experienced attorney, you may be tempted to prepare the trust accounting yourself, however preparing a trust accounting is much different than drafting a will or trust. Trust accountings are strictly mandated, and even a minor error can result in a rejection from the court.

Due to the nuances and complexity, it is highly recommended that you enlist the help of a qualified and experienced CPA to prepare trust accountings for your client. Partnering with a skilled CPA with extensive trust accounting experience can help you protect your clients and win back their estate if necessary.

Working with Marcia L. Campbell, CPA

Our team understands how important accurate trust accounting is when your client’s siblings are threatening to sue. We provide the objective and reliable court accounting support that you need to make the strongest case possible.

To find out how we can help you and your client, give us a call at (951)686-3608 or fill out our contact form.

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