People often assume that estate disputes revolve solely around possessions. Two people want the same assets, they can’t have them and so they start a long legal dispute to see who gets them.
Certainly, this does happen, and assets do change hands during these disputes. However, experts note that the real problem is often that someone has his or her feelings hurt.
Take the case of a woman who passed away, leaving behind a husband and children. He later remarried. When he passed away, his children assumed that all family heirlooms would go directly to them. Instead, the man left some of them to his second wife.
His plan was apparently for her to then pass them to the children in her own will, but there was no guarantee that she would. Further, the children’s feelings had already been hurt. They felt like those heirlooms passed from their family to someone they considered an outsider.
This can make children feel like they are not as well loved or as highly valued as they thought they were. That hurts their feelings. Those hurt feelings then kick off the estate dispute. They may never be able to feel at peace with a parent’s decision when it suddenly feels so personal, as if it was directed specifically at them. This is true no matter what intentions the parent had to start with.
If you do find yourself involved in an estate dispute, whether you are the one administering the estate or you’re simply a family member of the deceased, remember that it is an emotional situation as you look into all of the legal options that you have.