Why Contested Estates Break Up Families

In an ideal world, a person would create their estate plan and once they die, everyone would be happy with it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Dealing with the grief of the loss of a loved one is devastating enough, but emotions are heightened when a family member wants to argue over their inheritance. Grief often leads to anger and mistrust. There could be issues with a beneficiary stealing assets, two people sharing a property, or an executor showing favoritism to one family member. A family member may think that the estate planning document is invalid. They may want to contest it to find it more favorable to them.

While they can, it is not easy to do so. To contest a will or trust, the family member must prove the following:

  • The will or trust was created due to “undue influence” by another party
  • The deceased family member was not legally competent at the time the will or trust was created
  • The document is fraudulent

As you can see, these are some pretty harsh claims. Trying to prove that another family member engaged in lies and fraud is a serious matter that should not be treated lightly. Being accused of something so dishonest can lead to arguments between family members and even break up families for good as everyone takes sides.

Why Do Family Members Fight Over Estates?

They say blood is thicker than water, so why can’t everyone just get along? It is hard to do that after the death of a loved one. Here are some reasons why:

  • Humans enjoy drama. Many people like conflict and competition, and this extends to the estates of deceased loved ones.
  • We seek approval. Receiving an asset is not always about greed. It often has to do with love and self-esteem. Being included in an estate plan is all about getting the deceased person’s approval.
  • We don’t want to be excluded. We all want to feel a sense of inclusion. When we are excluded, then we feel forgotten.
  • We become more in touch with our own mortality. When a loved one dies, we often feel scared because we become more aware of our own mortality. We could die at any time, which makes a person feel anxious.
  • A family member has a personality disorder. Many people are narcissistic, greedy, or highly dramatic, making it hard to come to an agreement.

Contact Our Illinois Contested Estates Attorneys Today

Nobody wants to deal with contested estates after a loved one’s death. Ideally, everyone would get what they are entitled to receive based on the deceased’s will or trust, but disagreements do arise from time to time.

Whether you are challenging the validity of a will or trust or defending against an attack from a family member, it is essential to have experienced advocates on your side. The Lincolnshire contested estates lawyers at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. can help you resolve contested estates. Schedule a consultation today by calling our office at (847) 325-5559 or filling out the online form.

Updated as of July 2019
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