Can a sibling dispute end in probate litigation?

Can a sibling dispute end in probate litigation?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2022 | Probate And Estate Administration |

Not everyone experiences a childhood with siblings without conflict. In fact, childhood spats are common, and it is just as common for those rivalries and arguments to carry on into adulthood.

Of course, adding money to the mix is never a good thing, and relatively tame arguments can spiral into the type of disputes that require mediation. This is especially true when it comes to the death of a parent and the probate process.

Uneven asset distribution

MetroWest Daily News discusses the types of rivalry and other issues that might lead to intense disputes. The biggest reason for disputes is an unequal bequest to children. Sometimes, children may perceive the actions of a parent to favor one child among them. Of course, seeing this favoritism in a will can ignite old rivalries, open old wounds and drive people to pursue litigation.

One way to avoid this is simply by dividing up the assets equitably between all children. If this cannot happen for whatever reason, parents should either write an explanation of why this is the case or should have this conversation while still alive.

Undue influence

Battles often break out over the possibility of undue influence or questions related to the parent’s testamentary capacity, too. In particular, some siblings may accuse others of exerting undue influence over a parent who is not in the proper mental state to understand what is happening. They may accuse the sibling of getting the will drafted in a way that benefits them or even hiding a parent’s declining mental state for selfish gains.

Whatever the case, these disputes can and often do lead to litigation. Those who wish to avoid this will want to contact their legal aid to learn about possibilities.