We handle numerous probate and trust administration cases, where siblings do not get along. It is better to work through issues with your siblings, prior to your parents’ passing away, as there is less stress and emotion.
There are several questions to ask your adult siblings, which may help repair and strengthen your relationships.
1.) What can I do to help us grow closer? This question opens the door to issues that you may not know exist. It may give your sibling the ability to finally open up about something that is bother them, and in turn, the ability to work through the issue.
2.) What is the long-term plan for Mom and Dad? Who has the ability to help pay for support? What do your parents want? Is anyone willing to help care for your mom and dad? It is better to discuss these issues while your parents are healthy, so that emotions are more easily contained.
3.) What do our family heirlooms mean to you? There may be certain items that are very important to one family member in the sentimental sense, but that are also a much higher value than most of the other items. This is the perfect time to also discuss these heirlooms with your parents, so that they can list specific gifts in their estate plan (and balance out the value) pursuant to their own wishes as well. This can prevent much stress and sadness, once your parents have passed.
4.) How can I best include your partner in family meals? If you learn about your siblings significant others, it can strengthen your bond.
5.) What do you wish I knew about you now? As each of us has changed over time, so have our siblings. We may still view our siblings as we did as children, but perhaps they have made significant changes in their lives, that they would like us to know about, so that we can better understand them.
The aforementioned questions are a great start for siblings to work on relationships amongst themselves. The next step after discussing sibling relationships, is to sit down with your parents, and ensure that you are all on the same page about long-term care, specific gifts, etc. Our firm would be happy to assist with creating a long-term care plan that is best for your parents, that will also minimize sibling disputes after your parents have passed. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our office at (586) 264-3756.