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August 20, 2021

8 Signs Your Family Will Fight Over Your Estate

Estate administration is equal parts legal and personal, and unfortunately, sometimes disputes can erupt when a family member passes and it is time to divide up their estate. 

These disputes can be tough, and in some cases, end in lengthy and expensive legal battles.

However, when you are preparing your will, with a little forethought and planning, you can avoid these disputes. At the end of the day, prevention is better than cure, so here are eight signs to look out for, written with the help of The Probate Bureau, the leading provider of Probate Services Colchester.

Sibling Rivalry

When a parent passes away, this can become the ultimate test for any siblings. Grief can trigger memories of bygone times where odds were never evened and various ‘I owe yous’ that were never repaid.

As a result of this, the settlement of an estate can very quickly turn into a battleground.

You can avoid this by considering appointing a professional fiduciary as a trustee, or at least someone who is not associated with the rivalry. This will ensure that an air of neutrality is kept whilst the estate is administered and the probate process is carried out.

An Economic Imbalance Among the Estate’s Beneficiaries

Disparity within the socio-economic standing of an estate’s heirs can cause huge trouble, even enough to destabilise the whole proceeding, bringing it to a standstill. An example of this is when a wealthy inheritor chooses to hold onto an asset that a less-wealthy counterpart wants to sell. 

This whole situation can be avoided by leaving specific instructions within your will as to the sale of your property, which is often the main cause of these disputes.


There is only one president of the USA and one CEO of Apple, and this is all for a very good reason. Executors need to be swift and decisive, which is why you should avoid naming more than one in your will to administer your estate. Even if you choose two people who get along 99 per cent of the time, that one per cent could cause trouble, leading to trouble and lots of delays.

Beneficiary Dependency or Mental Illness

Settling an estate is an incredibly sensitive situation. That is why it is so important to avoid any outside interference, which can have a negative effect on the process as a whole. This can include substance abuse and mental health conditions.

In the case of a chemical dependency, you can set up a provision where any claim is dependent on that person being clean for a specific period. You can also establish a ‘discretionary trust’ where a Trustee makes the final call based upon their opinion. 

In situations where mental illness is involved, then the person who created the trust can create a ‘special needs trust’.

Undue Influence

More often than not, when it comes to end-of-life care, there will always be one person who provides the majority of that care. However, this scenario can cause a lot of problems, including coercion by the caregiver for personal gain.

Sometimes, a person’s will can change in the few months leading up to their death, with the caregiver benefitting from all of these changes.

Late Marriage

Love can blossom anywhere at any time, and at any age. However, this can, unfortunately, cause resentment of the new spouse by heirs, especially where there is a blended family with children only on the settlor’s side.

You can avoid this simply by ensuring that your will is properly drafted with the help of a professional. At the end of the day, it is perfectly possible for you to provide for your new spouse and also for your children, however, to ensure that this is completely fair you may want to call in the help of a professional.

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