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Times when an estate plan might cause family disputes

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | Probate

It can be hard to keep everyone happy when making your estate plan, and that can lead to family disputes after you are gone. To reduce the chance your estate plan leads to one you need to understand what causes them.

The following are examples of common challenges that may lead to probate contests in the wake of a loved one’s death.

An unequal split

“Why are you leaving my sibling more than me?” is a valid question that someone might have cause to ask of their parents. Yet, if they only discover the disparity in inheritance once you have died, that question becomes, “Why did Mom (or Dad) leave you more than me?” As you are the only person who can provide a clear answer to that query, it is better you give it to them now rather than risk the matter causing suspicion or conflict between siblings after your death.

The need to coordinate decisions over an asset

Let’s say you own a business you have sole decision-making power over. If you leave it to your three children, you should accept they are unlikely to agree on everything. Similar challenges can arise if you leave something such as the beachfront holiday home to more than one beneficiary. You might believe it will allow them to get together each summer and recreate the happy memories of their childhood. Maybe it will, but it could also lead to disputes over the money needed for bills and maintenance or if one of them wants to sell it.

Detailing your wishes in an estate plan and discussing some of those details with your family proactively can reduce the chances that your estate plan will inspire problems in the event of your death. You can seek experienced legal guidance in this regard at any time.