Why do sibling spats over estates happen?

Many people are likely familiar with the trope of families fighting over a deceased relative’s estate or will. Unfortunately, this actually happens in real life and can result in the breakdown of a family unit.

Why exactly do these disputes occur? How can people prevent them from happening, or at least lower their chances?

The origin of the spats

Forbes breaks down some of the most common reasons for sibling spats to occur over estate plans or wills. Generally speaking, a lot of disputes in the present stem from issues of the past that never got addressed.

In many families, one child will feel as though their sibling(s) may have more favor from their parents. Whether this is perceived or true is up for debate, but the end result is the same: the child is already sensitive toward perceived favoritism and slights. Thus, they may read a will or estate plan uncharitably from the start.

Of course, there are other instances in which a child does not have any actual basis to claim unfair treatment. They may simply want to spite their sibling(s) or get a bigger share of the estate than what they rightfully deserve because of misconceptions about themselves or the other people in the family.

Avoiding misunderstandings

The best way to avoid these misunderstandings is through clear communication while the writer of the will is still alive. Take that time to establish reasonings for decisions made and answer any questions a child may have about the choices. This may not eliminate all possibilities of a dispute later on, but it will give a disputing child less of a leg to stand on.