Sibling Rivalry Rears Ugly Head After Death

Sibling Rivalry Rears Ugly Head After Death

Whoever said two things in life are certain - Death and Taxes – should have added a third one to that list: Sibling Rivalry. Unless you subscribe to the old Chinese rule of only one child, chances are you have experienced the ugliness of sibling rivalry in your own family.

We expect to see this undesirable behavior during childhood but we certainly don’t expect grown adults to exhibit this immaturity after the death of one or both of their parents when they should be pulling together & cooperating with each other.

Raising competitive kids in America unknowingly helps breed contempt when parents who want the best for their children enlist them in various sports, classes, and lessons designed to bring certain skills and accolades to their child.  As praises are brought forth in everyday conversations by parents, these forms of flattery are often seen by the child who is not getting the attention as an eyeball-rolling event. Parents will try to even out the score by praising the other child at some point in the future only to add another opportunity for eyes to roll or punches to throw. These times certainly are not unnoticed by either child and adding a third child to the mix only helps pit the “two against one” mentality throughout all of eternity. 

What is heartbreaking is that we see some form of sibling rivalry every day at our law firm. It occurs when one of the adult children prompts a consultation with the attorney to redo their parent’s trust documents.  It even occurs when mom or dad brings all of their children in an effort not to play favorites. The first hint of discord comes when we ask the “kids” to leave the room as they whisper something in our ears that we should know about mom or dad. 

Family discord also occurs after mom or dad passes away when two or more siblings disagree on how their assets should be treated. As each one excuses themselves to make a phone call or take a bathroom break, we get the Campbell’s Soup condensed version of why the other sibling isn’t fit for service. Even though the trust documents and California law leave a blueprint of instructions for those who are put in positions of trust, many adult children seem to think they can still call the shots and do things as they’ve always done in the past, putting their vulnerable siblings at risk.

Wise parents who want to avoid
post-death shenanigans or mistakes by their adult children should consider listing a private professional fiduciary in their trust documents

It is challenging to ask a trustee to think and act like a trustee, not just like a beneficiary, if they happen to be one and the same. Mistakes made by the trustee-beneficiary often require untangling by the attorney’s office which would have not been necessary if mom and dad had named a trained trustee who knew what to do. Wise parents who want to avoid post-death shenanigans or mistakes by their adult children should consider listing a private professional fiduciary in their trust documents. A private professional fiduciary is well-trained in what needs to be done, can accomplish the necessary tasks in a timely and cost-effective manner, and can even save your estate money in the long run. With your attorney’s help and that of a private fiduciary, you can be sure that your final wishes will be honored and your children will avoid the all-too-often emotionally charged conflicts that tears families apart.

Elaine M. Watrous, CLPF

Elaine Watrous is a licensed, professional fiduciary at the Law Offices of Donald A. Hunsberger. For more information, she can be reached at (714) 663-8000

Latest from Elaine M. Watrous, CLPF

Latest News

Sorbet Magazine Celebrates Its September Issue!

Business Showcase Sorbet Mag

Sorbet Magazine Celebrates  Its September Issue!

It’s impossible to say what we love most about our issue release parties, especially the most recent one at V...

The Escher String Quartet Opens Segerstrom Center’s 2018-2019 Chamber Music Series

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

The Escher  String Quartet  Opens  Segerstrom Center’s 2018-2019  Chamber Music Series

Thursday, November 1, 2018 in Samueli Theater Segerstrom Center for the Arts launches its 2018-2019 Chamber Se...

Segerstrom Center Kicks Off Its 2018-2019 Jazz Season With Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom Center Kicks Off Its  2018-2019  Jazz Season  With Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal

Segerstrom Center for the Arts presents Grammy® Award Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Ahmad Jamal for one pe...

Beyond the Books Nadia Milner delivers "Top Notch Services"

Entertainment Jody Robinson

Beyond the Books  Nadia Milner delivers "Top Notch Services"

I remember when one of my college friends was appointed Payroll Specialist for a large company in Pasadena. Whe...

Ready for Open Enrollment?

Health & Wellness Sorbet Mag

Ready for  Open Enrollment?

In a few weeks, you’ll be making important choices about next year’s health plan. As you consider your opti...

Making Educated Choices for Your Loved One’s Care

Education Jody Robinson

Making Educated Choices for Your Loved One’s Care

A Q & A with Derek Mannion, founder of Alliance Eldercare You think it might be time to consider options f...

Lea Michele and Darren Criss Continue LM/DC Tour With North American West Coast Dates

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Lea Michele  and  Darren Criss  Continue LM/DC Tour With North American West Coast Dates

November 2, 2018  in Segerstrom Hall Following the demand of fans and rave reviews, actors and musicians ...

Drug Free, Surgery Free & Needle Free: A New, Proven Treatment to Reverse Erectile Dysfunction

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

Drug Free, Surgery Free & Needle Free:  A New, Proven Treatment to Reverse Erectile Dysfunction

A Q & A with Dr. Michael DeYoung, M.D., LaSara Medical Group Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) often suff...

Pilates and Yoga for the Neck

Health & Wellness Align Pilates Team

Pilates and Yoga for the Neck

There is no shortage of reasons why people suffer from neck pain, but primarily, the root cause is due to impro...

How Can I Tell If I Have Skin Cancer?

Health & Wellness Kristy Fleming, MD

How Can I  Tell If I Have  Skin Cancer?

People of all ages get skin cancer. Checking your skin can help you find skin cancer early when it’s highly t...

Broadway’s Smash Hit Beautiful The Carole King Musical returns to Segerstrom Center for the A…

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Broadway’s Smash Hit Beautiful   The Carole King Musical   returns to  Segerstrom Center for the Arts

October 9 - 14, 2018 Back by popular demand, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical returns to Segerstrom Cente...

The Art of Craft @ The Brewhouse in San Juan Capistrano

Business Showcase Jody Robinson

The Art of Craft @ The Brewhouse in San Juan Capistrano

Let’s play a quick game: I’ll say a word and you write down the first thing that comes to mind. Ready? Beer...

Thinking Inside the MedBox. The New Standard in Medication Management Offers a Better Way to Dispens…

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

Thinking Inside the MedBox. The New Standard in Medication Management Offers a Better Way to Dispense Prescriptions

In a recent conversation with my mother, I discovered something. Something that was a cause for pause as I pond...

Upcoming Events at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Upcoming Events  at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The Australian Pink Floyd Show September 6, 2018 Segerstrom Hall The 2018 Australian Pink Floyd Show Tour is ...

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces  2018 – 2019  Jazz Series

Ahmad Jamal Quartet and Shahin Novrasli Kenny Barron Quintet • Kurt Elling Christmas Branford Marsalis Quarte...

Compassionate Caregiving: Your Home Care, Inc.

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

Compassionate Caregiving:  Your Home Care, Inc.

In-Home Care and the New! Senior Social Club & Stay Care Center in Laguna Woods Village Over the past deca...

RODAN + FIELDS: Changing Skin. Changing Lives.

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

RODAN + FIELDS:  Changing Skin.  Changing Lives.

Friends are good for a great many things. Laughing with you, getting out of tight spots every once in a while, ...

Get Your Game Together with No Bogeys Golf

Entertainment Ann Laurence

Get Your Game Together with No Bogeys Golf

Everyone knows that you’re not supposed to pick favorites when it comes to family. But let’s be honest, we ...

Medicare: A + B = ? Where does D come in?

Insurance Denice Merrill

Medicare: A + B = ?   Where does D come in?

I’m getting so much information in the mail! What do I need to keep? I am the presenter at the Mission Hospi...

Johnny Mathis “The Voice of Christmas” Returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts With a Speci…

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Johnny Mathis  “The Voice of Christmas” Returns to  Segerstrom Center for the Arts  With a Special Holiday Concert

The legendary and undisputed “Voice of Christmas,” Johnny Mathis will brighten the holiday season when he r...