Sibling Rivalry In Probate Disputes
While it may appear that probate disputes are about money, they are usually much more complex than that when siblings are involved. Most probate litigation resulting from Sibling Disputes stems from decades of emotional family issues. Siblings land in probate litigation in myriad of ways, such as challenging a parent’s will or accusing the sibling executor of not fulfilling his duties to the other beneficiaries.
Sometimes parents treat children unequally in their will. Whether it is just or not, the child left out will have a difficult time accepting that and Contest After Probate. Because of this, parents should really consider sibling dynamics when creating an estate plan. If the estate plan is well-drafted, often litigation can be avoided.
Sibling Disputes And How They Give Way To Probate Litigation
If there is money or property at stake when a family member dies, even the tightest of sibling bonds can be broken. Because it is such an emotional time when a parent dies, the children can find themselves reliving emotional rivalries again as adults.
There are a number of issues that could land siblings in front of a judge in probate litigation. The most common reason is when one sibling challenges their parent’s will, usually claiming that the executor is not adequately performing their duties to the beneficiaries. The challenging sibling usually feels that they have not been fairly treated in the will for one reason or another. They might argue that the other sibling had undue influence over the parent or that the executor’s decisions were not in the best interest of the beneficiaries.
Another common cause of probate litigation between siblings is when the parent dies without a will or intestate. At that point the siblings might argue in court to decide who is entitled to which assets left behind by the parents.
Sibling Rivalry What Happens When A Sibling Disputes A Parents Will?
Because a well-written will cannot be easily tossed aside, a sibling needs just cause to dispute the will. They will not automatically get whatever they want if they contest it. Wills, however, can be contested by children, spouses, or other people mentioned in the will, only when there is a valid legal question about the will.
There are four legal reasons that a will can be disputed.
- How the will is signed and witnessed
- Mental capacity of the deceased at the time of signing the will
- Fraud of the will
- Under the influence
If a sibling successfully disputes the will in probate litigation, there are a few possible outcomes. The entire will might be thrown out and an earlier will could be put in place. Assets could be distributed according to intestacy laws. Part of the will could remain, while the court interprets how the rest of the estate should be divided.
What Are My Rights If My Parents Died And My Brother Is The Executor Of The Will?
If probate is necessary and you are not executor of the will, you still have the right to read the will, any codicils, and any court filings when your parents pass away. If you are named in the will, you have the right to an inventory and accounting that shows any additions or distributions of your parents’ estate during the probation process. You also have a right to contest the will if you find there are any legal grounds to do so.
The fiduciary has a legal duty to carry out certain tasks in a responsible manner, regarding the will or estate. Those duties include:
- Representing the estate in court
- Inventorying all assets
- Safeguarding all assets
- Notifying creditors, heirs, and interested parties
- Paying all valid debts
- Handling taxes
- Distributing remaining assets according to the will
- Relay a final accounting to heirs and other interested parties
If you have lost your parent(s) and have questions about the will and your rights, an experienced lawyer at Gomez Law PLLC will assist you with questions and advise you according to your best interest. If you are located in or near Otsego, MN, call (763) 284-5552 for a consultation.