Part of any family’s financial plan should be what needs to be done when a death occurs. Life insurance plans and annuities are great tools to handle this situation. Situations get complicated, however, when families start fighting over inheritance money.
Sometimes, this can result from not communicating how the money should be used in the event of someone’s passing. It’s one thing to set up the money to be there in the first place. That’s the easy part. The difficult part is not discussing how to allocate the resources when they are needed.
This sets the stage for internal family conflicts. Usually, this happens when children in the family are at an age where they understand the ramifications of death and inheritance. Families with young kids probably won’t deal as much with this, unless siblings of the parents get involved. The younger kids likely won’t fight for the money. However, it’s statistically less likely for this group to experience loss leading to inheritance until later in life.
Older kids may stake a claim to the inheritance, however. Perhaps, they aligned with the member who died before his or her death and made some kind of arrangement not known to the other parent. This occurs more frequently than you may believe and is especially prevalent with stepparents. The kids feel they are more deserving of the money, for any number of reasons.
Then, there are situations such as with celebrity Anna Nicole Smith, where she married an elderly billionaire. She claimed she was in love, but the billionaire’s kids claimed she was nothing more than a gold digger. It did seem kind of strange that a young and beautiful woman such as herself, found an elderly man to be attractive. Unfortunately for her, she did not get to enjoy much of her riches, as she herself passed on soon after.
In most cases, families who should be spending the time grieving and healing, end up battling each other over the money that is left. It can lead to suing each other for the money. It’s an ugly situation that is often difficult to overcome, and the families end up not talking to each other for a long time after the legal resolution.
There are no easy answers but communicating with each other well before these circumstances come into play is usually the best way to handle it. This doesn’t mean that family members still won’t try to stake a claim at any inheritances left. But, it can make the difference in knowing how the money should be used.
Citizen Counselling and Coaching have a number of our counsellors and coaches in Birmingham who can provide support for grief, loss and bereavement. This can include patient one to one support, creating practical coping strategies and through sharing techniques and models that have worked for others. We also have specialist counsellors who work with children aged 4 upwards.
Our ‘My Grief & Loss Coach’ online programme and Coaching was designed for time poor busy people looking to manage their grief and loss or for those who don’t feel they can talk with a counsellor or coach one to one at this stage.
Our Grief and Loss page can explain more
You will find our online programme ‘My Grief & Loss Coach here