Estate Planning Isn’t Just For The Elderly

Happy, smiling couple in their sixties.

Why do siblings fight over inheritance?

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts

One thing most people do not want to consider when creating their estate plan is whether or not it will cause rifts in the family.

Unfortunately, estate plans and wills have very real power to rip a family apart. Thus, it is important to understand exactly why many of these disputes happen, so as to better avoid them.

The basis of sibling rivalry

Forbes talks about sibling disputes over inheritance. Siblings are often the center point of disputes simply because it is often parents who die before their children (and they do not often leave things to many other people, except perhaps their own siblings).

So why do family fights occur in these instances? First, sibling rivalries established earlier in life can come back later when one sibling feels slighted by decisions their parents made.

Seeing what is not there

Second, inheritance often represents a form of approval to many people, especially when the decedent is a parent. Siblings may feel that lacking in inheritance means lacking in parental approval.

Third, many people who are already sensitive because of aforementioned reasons will find exclusion even in places where it does not actually exist.

Wild and unexpected emotions

Fourth, emotions run high after a loved one dies. People often say and do things that they otherwise would not in a clear state of mind, and may end up particularly sensitive to perceived wrongs.

And finally, some people just have unresolved mental health issues or even personality disorders that make them more inclined to stir drama.

The best thing to do to avoid these situations is to leave behind a very clear and concise will, and explain to family while alive exactly why each decision happened and the logic that led to it. Though this will not negate every battle, it can help mitigate some.