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Why do sibling spats happen over estates?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2022 | Estate Planning

Estate plans and wills have a bad reputation for creating divisions within families. Though this trope often gets played up in movies and literature, it does happen plenty of times in real life, too.

It is important to understand why these spats happen and if there is anything that a person can do to limit the chances of one occurring.

Resurfacing of bad blood

Generally speaking, arguments over estate plans typically stem from an already existing sense of unfairness that existed between the siblings before the death of their parents.

For example, one child may feel that their sibling enjoys favoritism from one or both parents throughout their childhood. Though siblings might eventually bury or push aside these feelings, the death of a parent and the will they leave behind can easily stoke the fire once more.

The dangers of misunderstandings

Many disputes come from misunderstandings, too. Children may not understand why their parents made the decision they did and might misattribute the decision to favoritism.

In some rarer cases, children may simply want more than what they got, whether or not they actually deserve it. They could start a dispute to get a larger share of the estate, even if they are aiming for an unfairly large amount.

The best way to potentially reduce some of the friction that may occur is to openly discuss estate plans well in advance. No one likes talking about the potential death of a loved one, but this is key to ensuring that there are as few misunderstandings about the decisions as possible.