How To Deal With Inheritance Greedy Siblings: Tips

In the aftermath of losing a beloved family member, it is not uncommon for certain individuals within the family to exhibit manifestations of avarice.

Coping with the passing of a loved one becomes even more daunting when one must contend with challenging family dynamics.

However, amidst the emotional turmoil, there exist strategies to mitigate potential conflicts and prioritize self-care, facilitating a more constructive and healing journey through the profound pain of such an experience.

How To Deal With Inheritance Greedy Siblings
Dealing with a greedy sibling fighting for a bigger inheritance can be stressful. They might use tactics to sway the parent or estate for an unfair share: Photo source (Forbes)

Tips for Dealing With Greedy Family Members After a Death

Navigating family conflict, particularly in the presence of individuals displaying signs of greediness, can pose a significant challenge.

However, employing a set of straightforward tips can prove invaluable in steering clear of entanglement in this complex and challenging situation.

Aim for Healthy Communication

Family misunderstandings, particularly during the division of assets, can be especially distressing when combined with grief.

While you may not have control over how others communicate with you, you can establish a foundation for constructive and serene discussions on challenging subjects.

Strive to:

  • Express your thoughts using “I statements,” emphasizing your emotions and observations rather than attributing actions to others.
  • Employ inclusive language such as “we,” “our,” and “the family” to foster a sense of unity.
  • Validate the perspectives of others and practice active listening; individuals who feel acknowledged are less likely to become agitated.
  • Recognize moments of overwhelm or irritation, and temporarily suspend potentially contentious conversations until you regain a sense of calm.
Empathize With the Need for Control

Behaviors suggesting greed in a family member might catch your attention. Individual perspectives vary, and what appears greedy to you might not be perceived that way by them.

It’s essential to consider their viewpoint before hastily categorizing them as greedy, recognizing that not everyone harbors malicious intentions.

It’s worth noting that in the midst of the grieving process, some individuals might seek a sense of control when confronted with the inevitability of death.

While this behavior may come across as greedy, it doesn’t necessarily imply genuine greed.

Practice Self-Care

Experiencing grief on top of familial stress can feel like too much to handle. Be sure to take time to practice self care. This may include:

  • Grief journaling
  • Practicing yoga and meditation
  • Speaking with a therapist
  • Joining a grief support group
  • Spending time with animals
  • Reading grief focused literature
Set Boundaries

For those with family members who have previously crossed boundaries, it is crucial to establish and maintain strong, healthy boundaries. To achieve this:

  • Communicate calmly if someone’s actions make you uncomfortable.
  • Clearly define your need for personal space within the family.
  • Speak up when feeling overwhelmed after a recent loss and request assistance with managing the aftermath.
  • Trust your instincts; if an interaction doesn’t feel right, it likely isn’t.
Create a Schedule to Go Over Estate

Regardless of whether you assume the role of the executor or not, it is advisable to initiate a family gathering and establish a consensus on a schedule for the equitable distribution of the estate.

Considering that certain material possessions may not have designated beneficiaries, organizing them by category and implementing a systematic approach to allocate these assets can prevent chaotic scenarios.

Additionally, you might want to explore the following options:

  • Enlist the services of a mediator to facilitate the division of assets.
  • Opt out of being the executor and engage an independent fiduciary.
  • Liquidate all assets and distribute the proceeds evenly among family members.
  • Adopt a rotational system where each family member takes turns selecting a single item, with the order determined by random drawing of names.
Coping With Family Fighting After a Loved One Dies

Family conflicts may have surfaced during your loved one’s final moments, and now that they’ve passed, tensions have heightened. Despite inevitable disputes, control your reactions with calmness. In estate matters:

  • Engage when emotionally composed.
  • Stay self-aware during family interactions.
  • Identify discomfort with specific family members and its cause.
  • If constant arguing persists, consider probate court or a mediator for prompt resolution.
  • Reflect on instances triggering reactions.

Is it Grief or Greed?

After losing a loved one, distinguishing between grief and greed in family members’ motivations can be challenging.

Disputes over handling the deceased’s belongings, exacerbated by varying levels of sentimentality, may lead to conflicts.

Dysfunctional family dynamics can worsen, and pre-existing unhealthy alignments may favor some members while alienating others.

Additionally, entitlement and financial needs can impact family members’ behavior.

Read more: Can siblings inherit a house with mortgage?

How Do You Deal With Greedy Siblings?

Sibling dynamics, whether positive or not, can significantly influence behavior through rivalry and jealousy.

If favored during childhood, a sibling might express unprocessed emotions by hindering access to meaningful items. To handle such situations:

  1. Cultivate empathy and understand their motives, often stemming from hurt.
  2. Allow them to express themselves, even if you disagree.
  3. Respond with understanding and kindness.
  4. Take time to process before reacting to overwhelming situations.
  5. Stay calm and thoughtful when faced with provocations.
  6. Know when to excuse yourself from stressful conversations.

Consider seeking a non-familial executor or legal advice if their behavior becomes uncontrollable for a fair asset division.

How Do I Remove a Sibling From My Deceased Parent’s House?

Consult a probate attorney for assistance in navigating the complex process and filing necessary paperwork.

If not the designated executor, petition the court to be appointed.

As the executor, consider either having your sibling pay rent or initiating eviction proceedings.

How Do You Stop Family Fights Over Inheritance?

While you may not prevent family arguments, you have control over your response.

If you’re the executor, establish and uphold clear boundaries, even if family members frequently contact you.

If the will doesn’t specify the inheritance, consider consulting a non-familial mediator or seeking resolution through probate court to ensure fairness.

Common Conflicts Over Material Possessions

Material possessions can carry sentimental and monetary value, leading to disputes among family members over:

  1. Allocation of items: Arguments may arise over who gets specific possessions and the reasons behind the distribution.
  2. Timing of sorting/selling: Differences in grieving processes may cause conflicts over when to start sorting or selling items.
  3. Selection of items to give away: Disagreements may occur based on individual perceptions of the value of items and what is deemed acceptable to part with.
  4. Sale of the house: Disputes may arise over how to handle houses with sentimental and monetary significance, causing additional emotional strain.
How Does Grief Affect the Family Unit?

The experience of loss can give rise to distinctive connections and separations within a family.

Relationships among those who were once intimate may strain, while those who were distant might opt for a reunion.

The absence of a family member also disrupts the natural dynamics, posing a particular challenge when the departed individual played a pivotal role as the family’s binding force.

Different Grieving Styles

Various approaches to grieving can influence the dynamics among family members.

What one individual perceives as an appropriate way to grieve might not be acceptable to another person.

This can lead to misinterpretations and potential judgments being cast upon one another.

It’s important to acknowledge that individuals have distinct grieving styles and may be emotionally affected by the distribution of the estate in diverse ways.

What might seem insensitive to one person could be perceived as entirely sensitive by someone else.

Family Dysfunction After a Death

Loss can intensify family dysfunction, particularly in already troubled family dynamics.

The absence of a loved one creates a void, leading to increased anxiety and uncomfortable shifts within the family. For instance:

  1. In families with a mediator, the lack of their presence may result in unresolved conflicts and growing distance among surviving members.
  2. In families with a symptom bearer, members may redirect their focus to “fixing” perceived issues in another individual.
  3. Siblings might adopt parental roles, contributing to an unhealthy power dynamic.

These changes often occur unconsciously as the family adapts to a new normal after the loss.

Why Do Siblings Grow Apart After Parents Die?

Sibling relationships post-parental death can strain due to:

  • Dependency on parents for maintaining the connection.
  • Discomfort or triggers from reminders of parental absence.
  • Fallout from observed behaviors during the dying process or estate division.
  • Reduced family events and reliance on parents for conflict resolution.

If all parties don’t actively contribute, the relationship may deteriorate.

The Impact of Death on the Family System

The demise of a loved one has the power to fundamentally alter the dynamics within a family.

Each member will undergo a unique process of adapting to the loss, and the family as a whole may respond to each individual’s grieving process.

While a loss can foster unity within a family, it also has the potential to fracture it by:

  • Disturbing boundaries inappropriately, leading to a lack of privacy and increased dependence on specific family members.
  • Redirecting emotions towards other family members.
  • Assigning blame to a particular family member for the loss.
  • Some family members may avoid discussing the loss and may pressure others in the family to follow suit.
  • Linking one’s identity profoundly to the deceased individual, creating complications when dividing assets.

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