What Happens When a Sibling Disputes a Parent’s Will?

A parent’s death doesn’t necessarily stop sibling rivalries. Disputes can carry on for a lifetime, and sometimes these arguments find a way into the probate process. Sometimes, one of the adult children will claim ownership to an asset, perhaps a bank account or a family heirloom, claiming that the deceased parent promised it to him or her. (Even if it isn’t stated that way in the will.) Just because your sibling is jealous of your inheritance doesn’t mean that your parent’s will can be dispu...
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Is Grief Taking Over Your Family’s Will Dispute?

In an ideal world, a thoughtfully constructed will would ensure an individual’s last wishes were irrefutable and easily executed. However, the reality is that family members often end up in a dispute after a loved one passes away regardless of the documentation that was carefully crafted beforehand. After the death of a family member, confusion and conflict is intensified by the heightened emotions associated with grief. This creates unique challenges when dealing with will disputes. Grief ca...
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Avoiding Family Chaos: Why Your Adult Children Need Wills, Too

When a family member dies suddenly, it creates chaos in nearly every family. More often than not, disputes over property and money only intensify the grief everyone is already suffering. As older adults, it’s likely that we’ve taken steps to minimize that risk, such as maintaining an up-to-date will and setting up a family trust. However, have your adult children done the same? For younger adults, the time for needing a will can feel like a hundred years away, but for older adults, we’re ...
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Facing Your Financial Fears: Will & Estate Support for Women Over 50

If something were to happen to your spouse, do you know what assets and liabilities you have? For many women in the Baby Boomer Generation, the terrifying yet all too common answer is “no.” Oftentimes, couples write the first version of their will when they are starting a family and then revise it a decade or two later as the children grow. However, it’s common for husbands to take the lead in these revisions. Despite the good intentions, this scenario leaves many wives with a minimal underst...
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Leaving Assets to Underage Beneficiaries

Every parent wants to make sure their children will be taken care of if the unthinkable were to happen, and many grandparents or other family members often want their wills to include bequests to the younger generations in the family. However, there are special issues to consider when leaving assets to minors. Good intentions with poor planning rarely end with the desired results. Assets for Minor Children When planning for your children’s future, it’s important to consider what would happ...
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Disinheriting a Child From Your Estate

While Hollywood has glamorized disinheriting a child or grandchild, the decision to exclude someone from your will is quite complicated and emotional. There are four common reasons for removing an heir from your will: A pattern of behavior indicates the inheritance will be misused and/or cause added risk to the beneficiary’s life (for example, providing money for someone with significant drug or alcohol addiction). A split occurred and there is no longer a positive relationship, nor ...
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Effective Communication May Reduce Disputes between Executors and Beneficiaries

Estate Disputes- Understanding the Process and the Responsibilities
When a loved one passes away, it’s a difficult time for everyone involved. But often executors and beneficiaries are able to come together over a common goal: preserving the deceased’s legacy. Even so, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise between beneficiaries and executors during the administration and distribution of an estate. At times, these issues can result from a lack of knowledge and communication from the executor. Executors are often labeled as intentionally withholding informat...
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Joint Bank Accounts: Do You Understand the Risks?

Joint Bank Accounts: Do You Understand the Risks?
As our parents and family members age, there is inevitably a growing concern over their physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. Oftentimes, these aging individuals require assistance paying their bills and managing their finances, and they turn to a trusted family member, friend, or caregiver for help. This is both common and appropriate. Often, they go together to the bank or financial institution to get shared access to accounts with very noble intentions, and the teller provides a form ...
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Precautions for Providing For Financially Irresponsible Heirs

Providing for the future of your heirs is generally the primary goal for your estate plan. However, what do you do when one of your heirs is financially irresponsible or dealing with challenges that prevent him or her from making sound decisions? Whether the heir in question is dealing with substance abuse issues, a spouse that can’t be trusted, or simply a history of poor financial choices, certain precautions should be taken so the inheritance they receive doesn’t enable negative behavior....
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The Advantages of Mediation in Will and Trust Disputes

Lawsuits do not necessarily have to proceed to a trial before a judge or a jury. Often, before or after a lawsuit is filed, there is a window of opportunity in which the parties involved may reach a settlement or negotiation that will reduce financial costs, risks, uncertainty and the emotional turmoil of moving forward with a lawsuit. When this window presents itself, the attorneys representing the respective parties may be able to resolve estate and trust issues through a form of Altern...
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