If you have a sibling, then it’s unlikely that things were always smooth sailing growing up. You likely fought from time to time, whether it was about who would get to sit in the front seat in the car or who did what chores.
Conflicts between siblings don’t end in childhood. They can linger on long into adulthood. The introduction of money into the mix can intensify matters. One instance in which this occurs is when a parent dies and the probate process gets underway.
There are certain situations in which siblings are more likely to contest their parents’ wills than others.
Unequal bequests to siblings in a will
All children need love and acceptance, but parents may dole out what their children perceive as varying degrees of care and concern. A perception that a parent may have a favorite child may emerge from this. If a parent’s will seems to also favor one child, that can reignite old wounds and lead to legal battles.
Parents can take steps when drafting their will to minimize the chances of infighting occurring, such as by leaving their kids with equitably valued assets. Parents can also document why they decided not to do so if that’s the option they end up pursuing.
Questions about testamentary capacity or undue influence
Concerns regarding a parent’s testamentary capacity can also give way to probate battles. So, too, do issues over undue influence, or instances in which someone alleges that the testator was coerced or manipulated into favoring one party over another in their will.
It’s not uncommon for a sibling to allege that their brother or sister purposely hid their parent’s diminishing cognitive functionality in hopes that it would appear that they had the necessary testamentary capacity to draft a will. A sibling may also say that their brother or sister capitalized on their mom or dad’s vulnerabilities to get them to draft their will in a certain advantageous way.
Sibling disputes often rear their ugly head during the probate process. The longer such conflict lingers on, the most costly and drawn out a settlement is to be. An attorney can help you strategize as to how to achieve a resolution in your case.