We have all heard stories about various types of family conflict upon the death of a family member and how the interests of current and remainder beneficiaries differ in many respects. Equally and sometimes even more troublesome can be the conflicts and actions taken by persons whose rights as beneficiaries are the same as where siblings are to share equally in a trust or estate.
Whether you are involved as simply a beneficiary or have an additional or separate role such as fiduciary, it is critical to understand the potential for conflict in almost any situation. Everyone has their own circumstances and perception and these can manifest in totally unexpected ways even to the extent of seemingly being against one’s own best interests as they are understood by others. Emotion often runs high in many if not most of us and long ignored or forgotten issues can pop up and cause significant problems in the handling and distribution of an estate or trust. The costs to the estate and all the beneficiaries can be significant and dispute resolution without the attorneys and court is to be desired.
The differences between beneficiaries can be practical as where one beneficiary is content to defer distribution while another is really needs access to his or her share of funds currently. Or the differences can be emotional as with siblings who do not speak or may feel cheated due to unequal treatment whether real or perceived. Whatever the case, an objective and neutral party can be helpful in bringing the beneficiaries to an agreement even if it requires some compromise. If you are a beneficiary in this kind of situation, seek the help of those persons who are respected by all of the beneficiaries and can get all to focus on what is to be done.