Why do siblings fight over wills?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2022 | Estate Planning

Most people know the stereotype of in-fighting in families due to a person’s will or estate plan. Though it seems comical in movies, it is devastating in real life and can tear families apart.

In particular, siblings have a bad reputation regarding squabbles because of wills. So why does this happen, anyway? And how can someone prevent it?

The history of sibling disputes

Forbes discusses some of the common factors between sibling spats over estates. Many of them boil down to how the siblings view the will or estate plan. If one sibling finds it unfair or unequal, they could potentially start a dispute over it.

The history between the siblings can play a role, too. For many, a spat over a will is simply a continuation of childhood sibling rivalries that siblings perhaps never grew out of. If one child has always felt overshadowed by their sibling, then they could have extra sensitivities to perceived slights in a will.

In some rare cases, too, a sibling may simply have a delusional picture of what is or is not fair. They could lean on falsely represented details and might even make false accusations of favoritism or undue influence to get their way.

Is it preventable?

As far as prevention goes, the best thing to do is for the writer of the will and estate plan to explain exactly why they made certain decisions while they are still alive. This is an uncomfortable conversation to have, and many people do not like discussing death with their loved ones. However, it is the best way to cut down on communication errors and other such issues that cannot get cleared up after a person dies.