Sibling rivalry, family dynamics...in some families we laugh about these things and share funny stories from youth, but in others there is a lot of deep seated anger and hurt. For other families, anger and hurt come out when highly charged issues arise. Perhaps you are not that close to your siblings, but now find yourselves thrown together at Dad's hospital bedside, forced to make tough decisions together. Or, maybe you were once very close to your Mom but have become distant since she remarried and you don't get along with her new husband.
The decisions that need to be made towards the end of life can be tough enough--fighting over them with family members can be heartwrenching. And, if you're the one who Mom or Dad has chosen to help them (with finances, healthcare decisions) and you have a "disgruntled" sibling, it is not unusual nowadays to find yourself in the middle of a legal battle (for example, over guardianship, or later estate litigation).
Here are a couple things to think about:
1. We're big proponents of planning ahead--for all of us as we age, having conversations about what we want and completing the proper legal documents (healthcare power of attorney/surrogate, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, estate planning docs).
2. Consider family mediation if conflicts or concerns arise. Consider working with a professional care manager who can lead discussions, coach family members through challenges and act as a liaison to different parties. As well, a professional opinion and geriatric assessment often helps everyone see things more clearly.
3. Consider a family or care agreement/putting wishes in writing. This may help everyone be clear about my wishes and how I wish money to be spent for my care, even if it is more guidance than an official document. Meet with a professional to discuss how to do this, or to do a family consultation/meeting early on to lay out your desires and create a plan (for example, my husband and I could say we wish to use all our assets-as need be-to remain in our own home and we acknowledge we have purchased long term care insurance but may also need to use our assets and wish to exhaust those before considering a care facility--or--if I am alone, I wish for my family to help locate a good care facility for me, I prefer to be moved to be near my oldest son and suggest the family seek professional help finding the place that is best for me). A professional care manager can also answer your questions about what is available and realistic as you talk about these issues.
4. Know your family and plan accordingly. Consider things like the value of a professional trustee or other professional advisor being on board.