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Siblings may fight over money they wanted for retirement

When siblings do not get as much money in their parents' estate plan as they wanted, they sometimes get caught up in estate disputes. The bequests may be inequal, for instance, leaving one child more than the other. That child who got less will then take their brother or sister to court for the money they want.

Why does this happen? Shouldn't they both just be happy to get something?

The reality is that, though it appears from the outside that they should be happy with any financial gain, they may not think of it that way. After all, getting money from the estate isn't a surprise. They knew they would get something. They may already have been counting on that money.

For instance, some people who know they are going to get substantial assets from their parents do not bother to save up for retirement. They just plan to use their inheritance for that. It becomes their retirement plan.

Now, imagine that they get half of what they thought they'd get. Suddenly, their retirement plans won't work. They don't have time to start saving so late in life. They've made a mistake that they cannot fix -- unless they decide to try to get the money that they already mistakenly assumed was theirs. Instead of feeling like they gained financially, they actually feel like they lost money.

Understanding why disputes happen can be helpful, and this is just one way that they take place. If you find yourself moving toward one, make sure you are well aware of all of your legal options.

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