Most people in Washington State have likely encountered someone who has become disgruntled with a sibling over a parental inheritance. Such inheritance may have been documented in a will or a trust or the person may have died intestate, without such legal documentation. Either way, the resulting feud between family members can be expensive both emotionally and financially.
According to Forbes, our society’s preoccupation with improving one’s financial standing is a key contributor the large number of inheritance disputes that are initiated. Additionally, it seems that not enough family members sit down with each other and have frank discussions about parental estate planning wishes.
Such open conversations may well be some of the most difficult for families to have but may be extremely advantageous as they potentially pose the best prevention for post-death arguments. Additionally, these conversations may need to happen over the course of time to allow for changes in a person’s or a family’s situation.
As explained by AARP, the general economy may factor into a person’s choice to dispute a parent’s will or trust. In a bad economy, for example, people may believe that such a dispute could help them improve their situation. They may also want to avoid financial responsibility for assets such as vacation homes when times are tough. In a good economy, the value of some assets may be of special interest to adult children. Some siblings have found that creating a legal contract detailing how they will co-manage assets can be a helpful way of avoiding conflict.