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When do sibling disputes lead to court cases?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Probate adds an extra layer of tension to the lives of everyone involved. Not only does it mean you are likely dealing with the recent death of a loved one, but you must handle the stress of asset division and other aspects of an estate at the same time.

This is why it is a time when rivalries between siblings can begin to shine through. Old, buried hurts can easily surface again, and it may even lead to litigation.

Dealing with undue influence

As Metrowest Daily News points out, some sibling rivalries can get wildly out of hand. Siblings can end up despising one another, and the hurts can often come out in very big and public ways in the event that they feel unfairly treated in a parent’s will.

Most times sibling spats lead to litigation, it happens for one of two reasons. Either one sibling suspects undue influence or the parent has left the children with unequally divided assets.

Undue influence involves one person exerting control over another who is usually in a weakened state of mind. For example, a sibling might get accused of manipulating a parent with dementia in the hopes of gaining a more favorable portion of assets, or more control over the estate.

Unequal divided assets

However, sometimes a parent will divide assets unevenly without manipulation involved, while in a clear state of mind. In this case, children might simply argue against the fairness of the will and take it to court for that reason.

Some easy steps can help people avoid the latter issue, such as dividing assets equally or explaining to children why they are divided unequally. It is best to try avoiding litigation if at all possible because it can have an otherwise serious impact on your well-being otherwise.