The death of a parent or grandparent is always tough, whether it is a sudden accident or death after a long, slow decline in health. What makes it tougher for Seattle residents is a will that they feel is unfair. For example, a child who acts as the primary caregiver for an aging parent for several years may feel entitled to a bigger share of the estate than siblings who did not.
Psychology Today explains that children may feel that the will is a “final grade” of their parent’s feelings about them. It does not matter whether it is true. For children, it is their perception of reality. A will can feel like a summing up of a child’s entire life and their reward, or lack of reward. Nobody is prepared for such an emotional summary.
Wills can stir up old sibling rivalries as well, as even mature children may be sensitive to what is fair. For them, a will may show what they always suspected about a certain sibling being favored over another. It is actually the same old conflicts in the family coming to the forefront again.
On the other side of the issue is the parent who may indeed wish to acknowledge the caregiver for his or her sacrifices but also feels that a parent should not show favoritism. Estate planners support this belief as one sure to cause problems in sibling relationships.
Most families do not talk about wills and what is in them, which leaves children with a surprise that adds to their feelings that the will is unjust. Communication is key for parents who wish to avoid arousing old rivalries.
The information in this article is general in nature and should not take the place of legal advice.