One of the many things you must handle after one of your parents passes away is administering their estate. If your parent had a will, the process should be relatively straightforward.
But what happens if the terms of their will are not at all what you expected? Problems often arise between siblings when the terms of their parents’ will appear to favor one child over another or leave one child everything and the other child nothing.
Do not automatically blame your siblings
These are just a couple reasons that siblings may fight over an inheritance. Ideally, your parents will talk with you and your siblings about their will before their death, but that does not always happen. Sometimes the way parents distribute an inheritance among their children comes as a complete surprise.
It may be tempting to blame your siblings. Perhaps you think they threatened or coerced your parents into leaving them most or all the inheritance, or they took advantage of a situation when your parents were still living in hopes of getting a better inheritance.
Think about what you really want
Before taking any action, examine your feelings and determine the root cause. You are likely highly emotional and perhaps in shock after the death of your parents.
You may be projecting feelings of sadness, anger or fear onto your siblings. Think about what you are truly upset about. Is it the item or inheritance you didn’t get, or is it grief over losing your parents? Consider talking with a counselor to help you work through your grief.
If you have a good relationship with your siblings outside of this dispute, talk with them and get their honest thoughts on the issue. Perhaps they believe a mistake was made, as well.
Use a third party
Sometimes direct communication is not the best option, especially if there are hard feelings or conflict involved. Consider getting a neutral third party involved and evaluating the situation.
You can challenge the terms of a will in court, but without evidence of coercion, fraud or illegality, you might not be successful. Knowing how to prove these things is essential if you intend to challenge the will.