6 Sample Letters to Estranged Siblings or Step-Siblings


Severe differences (or, in all honesty, severe similarities) can cause temporary rifts or long-lasting divides among siblings. However, you may need to reach out to an estranged sibling or stepsibling for many reasons.

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The causes of sibling estrangement vary, but some situations necessitate communication even if you haven't mended fences. You may have had a death in the family, want to reconnect after a fight, or express disappointment. Read through our sample letters to estranged siblings.

Sample Letter to Reconnect with an Estranged Sibling After a Death in the Family

Dealing with the death of a family member while balancing a poor relationship can put you in a difficult spot. However, it cannot get better with radio silence. In fact, this can make it far worse. 

Even if you know your deceased family member had a poor relationship with your estranged sibling, the deceased's death may still necessitate a letter for legal or other reasons. Of course, you know your situation best, and this post should serve as a guide, not a decision-maker.

On the other hand, perhaps your deceased loved one wanted you and your estranged sibling or step-sibling to make amends. A letter can offer the perfect way to start the conversation to honor your deceased loved one.

If you plan to reach out to one sibling about the death of another, you may also benefit from reading this post about how to deal with the death of a sibling. In the meantime, learn more about what you can write in a letter to a sibling after a death in the family.

1. Elliot, I wish I was reaching out on better terms. I have some bad news, so, please, if you have some grace to spare, I am asking for it now. I’m really not certain if you’re already aware or if you have any contact with anyone in Brentwood anymore. This news may shock you, so please prepare yourself… Dad passed away a few days ago. I know the two of you have had some contact over the past few years, but I know it hasn’t been easy at all. 

I regret that you and I have lost contact entirely, but I understand if you think it’s better for the both of us to just keep our distance. That being said, we’re having a celebration of life ceremony for Dad in three weeks on May 19. I hope that’s enough time for you to organize a trip. We’d really like to see you there. If you want to pay your respects and be left alone, we’d understand. I’m not necessarily expecting an RSVP, but if you have any questions about anything before you plan your trip, I’d be happy to talk it over with you. You can give me a call at 860-369-4022 or email me at emailaddress@gmail.com. Take care in the meantime, brother...

2. Christina, I’m not entirely sure when this letter will reach you, but let's put our differences aside for a few minutes. I’m writing to you because Thomas passed away a few days ago. It was cancer. He’s had it for quite some time, whether you knew or not. I know the two of you never got along, but he was still our stepbrother and he cared about you. He wanted to hear you were doing well. 

His wife and family, with some of my help, will have a funeral next month. We wanted some time to collect ourselves and for the kids to finish school. I know there’s probably very little chance of you attending. However, I wanted to include the details in this letter anyway. You’ll find them at the bottom of this email...

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Sample Letters to Reconnect With an Estranged Sibling After a Sibling Fight

Whether the fight with your sibling or stepsibling happened two days ago or two years ago, time alone may not be enough to heal all wounds. Sometimes, it takes one of you to be the bigger person and open up the discussion.

You want to resolve family disputes because doing so takes care of your emotional health and wellbeing. Especially during difficult times, you shouldn't take others in your life for granted, no matter how badly they burned you. 

After a big fight, you may want to write a handwritten letter or email. Learn more through funeral etiquette for estranged families

3. Dear Lily, I really want to apologize. I hate the turn that our last conversation took. I know that I was out of touch when I was speaking about your relationship when all you wanted to do was vent to me. I'm very protective of you and do not want to see you hurt. Everything that I said came from a place of love, but I see now, it did come out harsh and insensitive. I know that you’re a strong, smart, young woman, and I still see you as a little kid most of the time. That’s really unfair of me. I hope that I can make it up to you and take you to lunch or coffee next week. No rush if you need some time to cool off. I completely understand. Shoot me a text or call me if you’d like. I’d love to hear from you whenever. I love you, sis, and again, I’m sorry...

4. Hey Marco, I’m feeling really dumb about last week. Should we call a truce? Meet for a beer on Thursday? I understand if you’re still upset with me, but we can definitely talk it out later. The beer should help, too. I just wanted to give you a shout while I was at my desk today. Love you, man. Talk soon...

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Sample Letters Expressing Disappointment to an Estranged Sibling

Though the death of another sibling is the possible reason for writing a letter, perhaps you’re dealing with sibling estrangement after a parent’s death, for example. 

In this case, everyone deals with death in different ways. Perhaps you feel your sibling or step-sibling handled a parent’s death poorly and you need to express this.  

Reading this information in a personal letter instead of in a text message or hearing it over the phone may allow your sibling to reflect. Read through some samples for what to say to express disappointment to an estranged sibling.

5. Justine, I wish I didn’t have to do this, but I just can’t let this sit. I’m really disappointed in how you chose to skip Mom’s birthday dinner last week. Instead, you chose to go out with your friends and post all over social media as if Mom wouldn’t eventually see it. That was incredibly insensitive, and Mom doesn’t deserve that, no matter what issues the two of you have. Please grow up, Justine. You don’t have to apologize to me, but at least say something to Mom. Take care of yourself...

6. Chris, I’m really disappointed in you. If you have anything to say for yourself, I’m open to listening. I think your behavior was unacceptable, and you can’t keep going on like this. There’s going to come a time when no one will stand for it, I certainly won’t stand for it much longer. Anyway, as irritated as I am, I can still drop this if you want to talk sometime soon...

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Letters Alone Cannot Mend Fences

Letters alone cannot mend fences, unfortunately. However, they can offer a first step toward rekindling a relationship. That being said, you should not feel compelled to mend a relationship with someone who solely brings negativity. 

These necessary letters can also provide peace and a better chance at you or your sibling’s healing journey.

You may face a lot of difficult conversations when it comes to family matters, such as end-of-life planning. Cake’s free digital end-of-life planning tool can make this process much easier. Also, check out Cake’s blog for resources on how to talk to your family about your end-of-life wishes

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