Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

Sibling rivalry in probate litigation

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Probate Litigation

Siblings often cause particular contention in probate litigation. In Arkansas, understanding the common causes of sibling disputes and employing strategies to manage them can help families navigate this challenging process more smoothly.

Causes of sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry in probate cases usually stems from a few common issues. Disagreements over the distribution of assets can lead to conflict. Disputes over who should serve as executor can cause tension. The loss of a parent can exacerbate existing rivalries, leading to disputes over the estate.

Managing and preventing disputes

To minimize sibling rivalry during probate, consider these strategies:

  • Clear communication: Open discussions about the estate plan can prevent misunderstandings. Regular family meetings to discuss intentions and expectations are beneficial. This better ensures everyone understands the wishes of the deceased.
  • Professional mediation: A neutral third-party mediator can help resolve conflicts before they escalate to litigation.
  • Detailed estate planning: A well-drafted will or trust that clearly outlines asset distribution and executor duties can reduce ambiguity and disputes.

Legal intervention options

Siblings might challenge the validity of a will based on claims of undue influence, lack of capacity, or fraud. If there are allegations of executor misconduct, the court can appoint a different executor. For property division disputes, the court may order the sale of the property and distribute the proceeds among the heirs.

Keeping the peace

Navigating sibling rivalry during the probate process can be challenging. However, by addressing potential conflicts early and transparently, families in Arkansas can reduce the emotional toll of probate litigation and preserve family harmony.