You and your siblings have had your fair share of arguments over the years. Fearing that their own passing will lead to serious family conflicts, your parents have created an estate plan. The goal is to give you instructions so that you don’t have to make decisions on your own, potentially preventing disputes.
For instance, maybe your parents were worried that you’d fight over who got to keep the family home, so they instructed that the home be sold and the money divided evenly between all of you. Will this type of planning in advance prevent disputes?
It can lower the odds, but disputes still happen
There is no doubt about it: One of the best ways to prevent estate disputes is to have a plan. When siblings have fewer decisions to make, they have fewer things to disagree on.
However, even a plan can cause disputes. For instance, maybe one sibling claims another used undue influence to alter the plan by convincing the parents to make changes in their favor. That could lead to a dispute over the validity of the will. Or, perhaps your parents tried to leave one sibling out of the will because they have more assets than the others, but they are now disputing the will by claiming that it was all just an oversight and they were accidentally forgotten — potentially meaning they still have a claim to some of their parents’ assets.
These are just two examples, but they show you how easy it is for disputes to arise, even when an estate plan is in place. If this happens, all involved need to be well aware of their legal options to settle a complicated estate.