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Inheritances Can Cause Sibling Disagreements

Financial arguments between siblings are rare, with only 15% percent of siblings reporting any conflict over money with their brothers or sisters. Interestingly, however, when siblings do fight over finances, it’s usually about their parents (68%).

The top areas of contention include how an inheritance is divided, whether a sibling supports their parents more than other siblings, and if parents are being fair in their financial support.

These are the findings of new research from Ameriprise Financial, which looked siblings’ communication, financial disagreements, and perceptions of each other when it comes to managing money.

“Problems can occur in family relationships when money is not discussed between parents and children – the same holds true for siblings,” commented Marcy Keckler, vice president of Financial Advice Strategy at Ameriprise Financial. “It’s important for siblings to keep open lines of communication about money so that they can work toward common goals, like caring for aging parents.”

A good proportion of sibling disagreements over inheritance could be eliminated if families made a point of having open and honest discussions about inheritance planning.

Earlier research by Ameriprise found that only 21% of parents who are planning to leave something to their children have told them how much inheritance they will receive. As a result, expectations don’t always match reality, which increases the possibility of conflict.

“Estate planning and inheritance are inherently emotional and often uncomfortable topics of conversation, but addressing them head on as a family can prevent a lot of uncertainty and tension down the road,” explained Marcy Keckler. “Our message to anyone who hasn’t done so already is to seize the opportunity now to foster an honest and healthy dialogue with your loved ones.”

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