Estate plans can cause a lot of grief for both expected and unexpected reasons. Sibling disputes that arise in response to them may fall into either category.
But are these disputes preventable? If so, how can you help lower the chances of one happening?
Rekindling of sibling rivalries
Forbes discusses some of the most common reasons for sibling spats over estate plans. In some cases, it is due to the rekindling of old rivalries or preexisting disputes. For example, some children simply feel like their other sibling(s) got more favor than they did. If they view the division of assets in an estate as inequitable, it will likely bring those old feelings back to the surface.
In other cases, a sibling may not trust his or her other sibling(s) and could suspect them of exerting undue influence over you. Or, they may simply want to use this as an excuse to delegitimize your will, which is a painful reality for some parents.
Handling communication and litigation
In some cases, communication is good enough to clear the air. If you made certain decisions for certain reasons, make those reasons clear. Do not leave room for speculation or conjecture and you will see the opportunity for disputes slowly but surely shrinking.
In other cases, however, you may need to take legal action. For example, if one sibling is attempting to paint another as a villain through false accusations of undue influence, this not only affects the sibling but the legitimacy of your will. In such instances, you will want to take legal steps to prove its legitimacy and protect it from further threat.