Losing a loved one is among the most difficult things that you can experience. Especially if the death is unexpected, it can be difficult to process. You will experience many different emotions and will likely need time and support to manage your feelings and regain a sense of normalcy.
Needing to go through probate court can complicate your grief or possibly drag up old emotions and family conflicts. In addition to the stress of handling an estate, you will have to worry about access to accounts and assets, as well as the repayment of debts on behalf of the deceased. It’s enough to overwhelm even the strongest and most organized person.
It is generally a good idea for those who have recently lost a loved one to seek emotional support through support groups or counseling. Especially if you believe there will be a conflict in the estate, retaining that support as you go through the probate process can help you make the best of a difficult situation.
The grieving process can bring up old trauma
If you and other family members struggle to adjust to the trauma of a loss, you will also find yourselves reprocessing difficult things from the past. Childhood abuse, parental favoritism and a host of other potential traumas may resurface during probate.
In fact, uneven inheritances and favoritism in an estate plan could directly ignite conflicts between siblings or cause issues between children and stepparents in blended families. Having emotional support during this time will make it easier for you to focus on the big picture and not just on your feelings.
Losing out on assets can feel like another death
It can be hard to accept that your family may not retain the assets that matter the most from your loved one’s estate, but that outcome is the reality for some families. You may not be left with much of anything at all if they required substantial long-term care or had a lot of debt when they died.
Probate administration requires that the estate pays off outstanding debts before it distributes assets. Your parents’ wedding jewelry, the family house and other major assets could easily wind up liquidated to repay creditors. Your family may have to grieve the loss of the physical mementos as well as the loss of a loved one.
Having support from outside and reminding yourself that the other people you love are also grieving can make it easier for you to get through this process without it causing additional strife.