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When do sibling conflicts lead to litigation?

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2022 | Estate Planning

Sibling conflicts are not an uncommon occurrence. They often happen between siblings of all ages and types and can range from mild to relationship-ruining.

Of course, no matter the severity of the conflict, old hurts can always end up exacerbated during probate. This is the most common time for sibling conflicts to lead to litigation.

How wills can stoke resentment

Metrowest Daily News looks into the possibility of litigation between siblings during probate. First of all, the death of a parent is often a traumatic and deeply emotionally complex life event. When in this distraught emotional state, it is easier than ever to end up carried away by negativity and old wounds from the past.

Of course, the estate itself and its provisions like the will could also stoke old fires of resentment or grudges long past. This is especially true in the event that a parent left an unequal distribution of assets to their children.

A parent may have many reasons for doing this, but it is important for them to pass on their reasoning. If they do not, they can easily evoke dissent from the child who received an unfair share. They may contest the will and even get it overturned. Of course, the other solution is to ensure all children have an equitable portion of the estate in some way.

Facing undue influence

Another potential issue involves undue influence. A person might accuse their sibling of exerting manipulation over an elderly parent, especially if said parent had mental or memory degenerative issues. In these situations, court battles are even more likely and even harder to avoid. It is best to simply prepare for the possibility in case it may occur.