Parents are often looking for ways to avoid estate disputes, and that starts by considering why they happen. For instance, it’s well known that disputes are more likely if there is no estate plan to give the heirs direction. Therefore, the first step to reducing the odds of a dispute is to have an estate plan.
However, some of the reasons for these disputes are a bit more complex and may be harder to avoid. Sibling rivalry is one reason for such a conflict.
How does this happen?
The issue is that rivalries that begin in childhood sometimes never end. It may not be as obvious in adulthood, when the siblings are not around each other as often, but that does not mean it’s a thing of the past.
This is why these disputes are so common after the passing of a parent. Siblings are suddenly drawn together again by that loss, and this old sense of trying to work against one another can rise back to the surface. If two siblings have spent their entire lives competing and not trusting each other, why would they feel any different when dividing an estate?
What can be done?
There are a lot of tactics to reduce these conflicts, starting with having an estate plan, as noted above. It can also help to have a third party make a lot of the decisions so that the siblings know those decisions are fair and unbiased. If one sibling is the estate executor, the other may question every single decision or inherently feel like they’re not getting fair treatment.
Those involved in disputes do need to know what options they have. There are potential legal solutions, even in difficult situations.