Siblings may cite specific reasons for their estate disputes after their parents pass away. Maybe one sibling thinks that the other used undue influence to make the will say what they wanted it to say. Maybe they worry that the will is actually a fake, created by a sibling who was physically closer to the parents or that they tricked their parents into signing it.
But no matter the reason, there are often factors playing through beneath the surface. Three examples include:
- The siblings were rivals when they were growing up. They have never moved past this stage in their lives, or the passing of their parents has brought all of those rivalries and issues back up again.
- One of the children thinks that the other was the favorite. They have always felt like the parents showed favoritism and cared about them less. As a result, they are predisposed to think that the estate plan is unfair to them.
- The argument centers around something that has no value. The entire value could be sentimental. For instance, both children want the same piece of artwork that their father always had in his office — never mind that he bought it at an estate sale for $10 before they were born. The value is in those memories, and they can’t divide that.
These are just three examples, but they show you how complex and difficult these disputes can become. There is often a lot more going on than meets the eye. If you find yourself in such a situation, make sure you know what legal steps you can take.