Siblingship is the state of being related or interrelated, or a state of affairs existing between one of two or more individuals having one common parent. The term describes the unique, dynamic relationship existing between siblings. Siblings begin their relationship at a very young age. They experience joys and setbacks together — laugh and cry together. And through fighting, they can learn conflict resolution together. No other relationship is like siblingship.

Sibling fights arise over property, so many parents aim to divide up their property fairly, in hopes that siblings will not fight. In my experience, this is not enough to avoid arguments.

The estate planning process, if done properly, can do much to minimize the risk of fighting when parents die. However, many plans do not speak clearly enough in this respect. Leaving a family home or a heirloom “equally to the children” does not go far enough to help avoid family squabbles. Deciding what to do with the family home during a time of grieving puts too much pressure on the sibling relationship.

Ultimately, the estate plan should mirror and reflect our lives and relationships. If your plan does not mirror and reflect your most important values, or does not speak clearly enough to ensure the preservation of the relationships am {Play}ong your children, I encourage you to review your plan with your estate planning attorney.

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