As the executor of your parent's estate, you likely already know that you have a lot of work cut out for you. What may weigh heavily on your mind is the likelihood that your siblings will cause conflict during the probate proceedings. Certainly, sibling rivalry can play a considerable role in estate disputes, and you may even find yourself having to deal with litigation.
Of course, your main goal will likely be to avoid litigation if at all possible. Still, you may want to prepare yourself in case avoidance is not feasible. Understanding some reasons for conflict and ways you could work toward a smooth process as executor may prove useful to you.
Though you undoubtedly love your siblings, you likely also know that they can be temperamental. Additionally, having just lost a parent can cause emotions to run even higher than they normally do. As the executor, you have the duty to handle conflict relating to the estate, and your siblings may not make that responsibility easy. Some potential conflicts to watch out for include the following:
- Your siblings may judge and criticize everything you do and may even accuse you of wrongdoing if you cannot immediately explain certain actions. However, you should not let fear of facing scrutiny keep you from carrying out your duties, which can hold up the probate process and cause more issues.
- You may also face accusations that your parent liked you best and that favoritism played a role in your being chosen as executor. Again, this type of situation could result in a resentment from your siblings that cause them to mistrust you and question your actions.
- You could have to make decisions regarding the distribution of specific assets if your parent did not specifically bequeath them in the will. A sibling may claim that your parent wanted him or her to have a necklace or other item, and a fight could ensue if someone else wants it as well.
In order to handle these situations, you may need to set some ground rules at the beginning of the process. You may need to tell your siblings that you could need their input at certain times but not constantly. Settling your parent's estate can be stressful enough, and finding ways to make the situation easier on yourself may help you feel more comfortable.
Having help with the process could also allow you to feel more at ease. An Arizona attorney could offer insight into your specific situation and give you advice on how to handle disputes that may arise as you work to close your parent's estate.