At one of the most challenging times for a family. "Why do siblings fight over inheritance?" There are some clear reasons why that happens and some specific things you can do to get out of it.
This is a problem that plagues a lot of families. And it's unfortunate too because at a time when the parents pass away. For example, maybe these are aging parents, and they've got this estate that they've built up whether it's larger it's small. And then what happens at the funeral?
There are fighting and bickering and arguing about who gets what.
Why do siblings fight over inheritance?
You know what the number-one problem here is something that I called the scarcity mentality. Let's just set up a little comparison here.
Scarcity versus abundance
These are different ways of looking at the world. Their different ways of understanding our existence. In a scarcity mindset, there's never enough. There's not enough time love, money, attention. This scarcity mentality sometimes starts first thing in the morning.
"I didn't get enough sleep."
Really? You just woke up. You probably got enough sleep.
Now, what if you really didn't? What if you're sleep-deprived? Well, eventually, you're going to fall asleep. Your body's just going to take care of that. But the mindset it's what I'm focusing on here.
Now let's just talk for a minute about the stuff that the people are arguing over. It's stuff in my family coaching. I really emphasize this. Values before valuables. What are the underlying values?
And really what enabled the parents, in this case, to collect the stuff to start with?
Well, usually, it's things like a work ethic or an understanding of money and value in exchange. And that's how they've built this up in the first place.
Well, those values are far more valuable than the valuables that people are arguing over. Especially families where there is some level of wealth where the essential thing becomes, how do we pass on the values before the valuables. And that's what's really important.
What if you're one of these siblings that's arguing over the stuff? Well, forget about the things for a minute and focus on the values that created the valuables in the first place?
It's exciting to look at the research around families where there are assets or wealth. And when that wealth is passed on to the next generation, the study shows that it's completely lost within 3 generations. And that's generous.
Because smaller amounts of wealth can be consumed sometimes in months. It can go very quickly. And it's because of what we've already talked about here the values haven't been installed, and so the valuables just disintegrate. They evaporate. They disappear into thin air.
No. But again, it gets back to that mindset of scarcity. And if you think in a scarcity mindset.
what do you do with the stuff?
You heard it, you cling to it, you try to pull it to you. You certainly don't share it. You certainly don't put it out there to a higher greater use or cause. And that's part of the problem and why siblings end up fighting over the inheritance.
I have to say a few words now about entitlement.
Entitlement is this sense of somebody owes me something. Like somehow, I've got a right to that thing or that possession or that money.
I remember an episode of The Cosby Show years ago where Bill Cosby as the father in this family was having an interaction with Theo, his son. And Theol wanted something.
And he said, "Come on, dad. We can get that. We're rich." And Bill's response to him: "What do you mean we're rich? I'm rich. You're poor." And I had to chuckle at that. Because really the son is poor. He doesn't own all of that wealth that his physician father owns, but he felt entitled to it. As if it was his just under being a child in the family.
I've seen this dynamic so often where parents because they love their children they want to pass along what they have earned or accumulated to their kids as an inheritance.
You're not entitled to it. And your parents don't have to give it to you. And parents, you don't have to give it to your kids. In fact, it's probably a better idea to put that to the highest use possible and into the hands of those who can be the very best stewards of those assets.
That's a whole other conversation that we can have another time if you want. I think the entitlement mentality is one of the main reasons together with scarcity that siblings fight over inheritance.
Make sure that it's not you. Now while we're talking about mindset.
let me just make another comment about producer versus consumer.
Producer versus Consumer
Alright, look at these 2 very opposite ways of thinking. A consumer, for example, is continually looking for "what's in it for me?
What can I obtain or receive or consume or use?" Versus the producer mindset.
Now a producer mindset is all about creating or bringing to the table more than I take away. Its producers that make things available to us.
You know one of the books that have made the most significant difference in my intellectual life is a book called Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The author does a fantastic job of setting up this discrepancy between producers and consumers.
And she plays out in this story. What would happen if we were all stuck in a consumer mindset? And you know the whole society would just deteriorate.
The producers that make it possible for us to go to a store and buy something. Because they created more than they needed to consume.
The producer mindset is what created the assets in the first place. And without that, they're not sustainable. For siblings to argue over assets or inheritance shows that they don't understand the producer mindset that would allow them to go create a similar thing on their own.
Obviously, in this article, we've been talking about the sibling rivalry between grownups. If you want to help your kids overcome sibling rivalry, I think you're going to love this article: "How to deal with sibling rivalry?" You can click on it right over there. And if you're enjoying this article, would you please share this?