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Navigating inheritance disputes

| Sep 8, 2017 | Inheritance Disputes |

Any close family member’s death can bring dark and distressing times, especially when that family member left behind a will that the surviving family do not agree upon. Some individuals dealing with the death of a family member in Seattle are shocked when they discover that other immediate family received a larger inheritance than their own. This conflict is difficult to tackle because the writer of the will inevitably cannot clarify details, and those attempting to find a solution may fight for their rights to inheritance for years.

Washington’s inheritance law holds that wills are generally first prioritized by spouses, followed by children, siblings and grandparents. While this may seem simple, inheritance laws can be complex and challenging to navigate, especially if the will is not divided evenly among immediate family.

The Complexities

In addition to coping with the loss of someone close, times can be trying when a grandchild or child discovers that the will of their loved one does not reflect their relationship with the deceased family. This was the case for one young American mother, as told through a New York Times report on inheritance imbalance. In the report, the mother recounts her relationship with her grandmother, who progressively suffered from Alzheimer’s disease until her death. Upon her grandmother’s passing, the interviewee discovered that her aunts had altered her grandmother’s will only five days before her death. While this scenario ended in a drawn-out legal battle with other family members, the Times adds that it is all too simple to manipulate wills when an individual is not mentally well.

The Consequences

Although each wills case is different from the next, when it comes to grandchildren, there are no clear laws that give rights to an inheritance. Findlaw points out that, as for the signing of wills, the state law maintains that a testator must be 18 years of age and capable of using reason and logic. The challenges that this law can create reside in the determining of a person’s mental ability at the time they sign the will. While there is a will, there is not always a way; however, those involved in will disputes may decide to place the matter in legal hands.