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When Death Divides the Family


Lifestyle Improvement

Posted On: Mar 21, 2017

When Death Divides the Family

It's an unfortunate occurrence, but death has been known to divide families on more than one occasion. It's even more unfortunate that the division often comes down to money or possessions. Families split themselves at a time when they need each other the most. This subject is a contentious one, but it's far too prevalent to ignore. If you are the peacekeeper of the family, or if you simply want to try to step into that role now, you might be able to keep everyone civil long enough to finish the messy business of life after death. Remember to encourage all close relatives to create their wills and keep them up-to-date, as that reduces the possibility of a family split.

Remind Everyone of What's Important

Simply put, nothing right now is more important than supporting each other. You are family. All of you just lost someone central and essential to your lives. Grieving that person, whether it's a grandparent, parent, close uncle, or any other member of your clan, is the only thing on which you need to focus. Everything else can—and should—wait. Every person grieving this loss needs love, compassion, and support. It's no time to argue over money or material possessions.

Separate Things, Not Families

Remind your family members of this. Split items, not families. Split money, not relationships. Agree to disagree. In other words, you're arguing over things. There is nothing in this world worth breaking off from your family. Money means nothing. Property is just property. Disagreements are no reason for division. Let old resentments die. Don't play the blame game. Don't take sides. Divide your loved one's remaining items and dealings as fairly, equally, and civilly as possible. Negotiate together. Trade things. Make new memories as you divide your old ones.

Push for Patience

It might be altogether better for everyone to wait until they've had time to grieve. At the height of bereavement, emotions run high and volatile. Nerves are raw. The family, especially, has a burden on their shoulders. None of you are likely eating or sleeping well. Urge your family members to give it time before dealing with the most common issues, whether they're financial or emotional.

Urge Your Family to Compromise

Compromise is almost always possible. Implore your relatives to take this approach, and stress the need for compassion right now. Remind them again that you're family, and your love for each other is more valuable than material items. You may even need to ask every person to write down the things they want, then start from there.

Then again, it's possible you won't get through to your family. Should that happen, you can just bow out gracefully. Take yourself out of the equation and, if needs be, take the peacekeeping approach after all the emotions die down a bit.