Contact The Firm

How can sibling spats lead to litigation?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2022 | Probate Administration |

Sibling rivalry is nothing new. Most families with siblings will experience it in various forms, whether friendly competition or genuine malicious disagreements.

When financial matters end up in the mix, as is the case with probate, things have a chance to get out of hand quickly. This is why sibling rivalry can sometimes lead to litigation.

The possibility of undue influence

MetroWest Daily News discusses sibling rivalry cases that escalate wildly. Though most siblings can work out their differences and talk things through, sometimes, they find this impossible and end up wanting to take each other to court.

In relation to probate, there are two primary reasons why a spat might escalate this far. The first is a suspicion of undue influence. The second is an unequal division of assets between children.

In terms of undue influence, this happens when a child attempts to use their parent’s poor mental state to manipulate them into gaining more favor in their will. If one sibling suspects that another has done this, they could very well take them to court over it.

Unequal asset division

The latter involves parents in a good state of mind willingly making the decision to give their children an unequal amount of assets. This can happen for many reasons. If a parent chooses to do this, it is important that they explain why to their children in order to lessen the chances of a dispute happening. Otherwise, children may take it as a sign of parental favoritism and argue against the fairness of the will.

In either case, it helps to have legal aid in preparation for the possibility of needing to go to court.