There are many reasons why siblings might fight over inheritances, even if those reasons seem minor. The good news for parents is that there are ways you can write up a will and estate plan to prevent inheritance disputes. The bad news is that they could happen anyway.
When people pass away, it’s a time of turmoil in a family. The structure of the family is changing, making it necessary for individuals to reestablish boundaries. Emotions are high, and everyone may feel they’re entitled to a piece of the life of the person who passed away.
Why do battles over inheritances happen?
It comes down to power for some, and others may feel slighted over what they’re missing out on. Many people fight for what they believe is a fair share of property or inheritance, even if that wouldn’t have been the wishes of the decedent.
The good news is that dividing up an estate equally is one way to avoid inheritance fights. It’s not always foolproof, though, since one child might feel slighted if they had taken over the majority of a parent’s care.
Other reasons for inheritance battles may be if one sibling believes that the other manipulated or took advantage of one of their parents. Stealing money from a parent’s account or manipulating the will are just a few potential issues.
To avoid these, it’s better to make sure inheritances are placed in trusts and that bank accounts and finances are controlled by a trustee or other who has no direct line to inheritance. Usually, this cuts down on family drama.
Some people plan that their inevitable inheritances will pay for their retirements, a dream many have and many live out. However, not planning for your own retirement is a mistake, and it’s one that could result in a feud if you don’t get what you think you deserve when a parent passes away.
A primary motivating force in these situations is the goal of being on better financial footing in the future. Financial security can sometimes override ethical concerns and the morals of people involved in the situation, which, in turn, leads to a serious feud.
Families struggling with feuds would do well to step back and breathe before fighting any longer. Infighting leads to more money spent on attorneys and animosity that may play out for many years to come. That isn’t the best route for any family’s future.