When a person passes away and leaves behind a will, the contents of the will might not be what family members expected or hoped for. Many people, unfortunately, become involved in disputes with other loved ones after a family member passes away because they are so upset with the directives in the will.
Many estate disputes happen simply because parents do not plan ahead and siblings do not know what their parents wanted. They're left to figure it out on their own. Naturally, they're going to disagree on some fairly big decisions -- maybe one wants to keep the family cabin, for instance, while another wants to sell.
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.
Undue influence can be something of a tricky subject in estate disputes because there is no specific definition. Also, it can look a bit different from one case to the next. But undue influence is the process of inducing an elderly person to change their will or estate plan. But what does it look like?
The months after the passing of a loved one can be an emotional time full of stress, grief and sadness. Many estate disputes arise during this period, and often people act in an emotionally charged way. Sadly, rifts between family members can easily be created.
If you have recently lost a loved one, you will know that emotions can become tense during the grieving period. As well as going through the emotional process of grieving, it is possible that you will also have to deal with the emotional aspects of the bereavement.
When Aretha Franklin passed away last August, it appeared that she had no estate plan -- despite the fact that she had significant assets, including her music catalog and memorabilia, which are likely worth millions of dollars. She is survived by four sons as well as grandchildren and other family members.
If a member of your family has passed away in recent months, you will have needed to work with other family members in order to carry out the wishes that your loved one stated in their will. It is quite common for family members to be shocked and upset by the wishes that are put forward in a loved one's will. This sense of shock and disbelief can morph into blame toward other family members, and this is often how disputes arise.
When a loved one passes away, the emotions of the entire family will be on edge. Grieving is a very difficult process, and everyone deals with it differently. Therefore, if a will is directed in a way that a certain family member does not expect, reactions can be tense and disputes can arise easily.
A dispute over a loved one's will generally begins long before the family member dies. Often, old feuds and long-held grudges surface in the emotion of someone's death and the disclosure of the contents of the will. In many cases, the beneficiaries settle out of court or those who bring the dispute decide it is not worth the time and money to go through probate litigation. However, if enough is at stake, interested parties may take the matter as far as it can go to obtain their goals.