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Could sibling rivalry lead to probate litigation?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2022 | Estate Planning

Sibling rivalry comes in all shapes and sizes, with some rivalries spiraling wildly out of control and others staying at a relatively peaceable level.

Unfortunately, when you add fraught emotions and money into the mix, even the mildest of rivalries can ignite into something that leads to litigation.

Receiving an unfair division of estate

Metrowest Daily News discusses probate litigation. In particular, it discusses the possibility of siblings taking each other to court due to a parent’s will or estate plan. This is a somewhat common occurrence, often happening due to past conflicts that never truly healed.

In most cases, if someone takes their sibling to court over probate, it is likely over one of two things. First, they feel unfairly left out of the will. Second, they believe their sibling engaged in undue influence and manipulation of their deceased parent.

In the first case, this often happens because a parent in a clear state of mind left an inequitable will behind. This usually involves one child getting the majority of assets or property, leaving another child without much at all. The child who receives less is likely to take legal action, claiming the unfairness of the will as a reason to have it changed.

Facing undue influence

In cases of undue influence, one sibling will often end up accused of manipulating their elderly parent, especially in cases where the parent may not be in full control of their faculties, such as if they have dementia. The sibling is accused of this manipulation with the goal of gaining more favor in the will or power in the estate.

Either of these situations can and often do lead to litigation, which is something anyone should prepare for if they have a rocky relationship with their siblings.


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