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Friday, January 26, 2018

Estranged from a family member? Join the club.

Families come in every possible shape and size, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that not every relationship is wonderful. Sometimes family members become estranged from each other; that's just a fact of life.

I thought I'd address this issue today because in the context of planning the distribution of estates, I see a lot of individuals and families who struggle with the idea of estrangement. Some are eternal optimists who keep the estranged individual in the will in the hopes that one day all will be mended and everyone will be friends again. Others accept the estrangement and want to prepare wills that omit any gifts to the estranged person. Many wish they didn't even have to talk to anyone about it. Many feel guilt or shame because they feel it's somehow a failure or a fault not to be able to maintain relationships with everyone related to them.

The New York Times recently ran an excellent article about family estrangement called Debunking Myths About Estrangement. It is full of insights and observations that will be useful and enlightening for anyone who is estranged from a family member. Those of you who are embarrassed or uncomfortable when others find out there is an estrangement will realize that it's more common than you think and it doesn't make you a bad person. Click here to read the article.

1 comment:

  1. Different take on this...one of my siblings is estranged from the rest of the family but not completely from my parents who both passed. I was the sole executor of the estate and had to correspond with the estranged sibling who was in constant contact bugging me for her share. This was one of the biggest hassles in my duties as executor. I wanted to but couldn't ignore her...I had to give my contact info and even my address which she didn't have. The estate has been settled but she continues to try and contact me...be aware of this when accepting an executor appointment :D

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