Inheritance disputes can arise when loved ones pass away and leave behind a will or assets to distribute among heirs. These disputes can be emotionally and financially draining for families.
Inheritance disputes often result in strained relationships or even permanent rifts. While there can be various reasons for inheritance conflicts, three situations are particularly likely to cause disputes.
Unequal distribution of assets
When a deceased individual leaves behind a will that favors one heir over another, resentment can fester. This inequality can occur for various reasons. Some may believe that a certain sibling received more love and attention during the deceased’s lifetime. Others might feel that they contributed more to their parent’s care.
Ambiguity in the will
If the will is unclear or open to interpretation, family members may disagree about the deceased’s intentions. Vague terms, such as “fair share” or “valuable items,” can lead to confusion and disagreements over what exactly those terms entail. To avoid such disputes, it is essential for the will to be meticulously written, leaving no room for misinterpretation.
Involvement of step-families
When a deceased individual has both biological and step-children, it can lead to disputes over the division of assets. To minimize conflicts, open and honest communication among all family members is a must.
Some studies suggest that there may be as many as 3 million probate cases in the United States each year. While many families experience a smooth transition through probate, it is important to acknowledge the potential for a dispute along the way.