What happens when your sibling disputes your parent’s will?

A rivalry with your sibling may begin when you are kids but last well into adulthood. Even if you are able to keep things civil with your brother or sister for a while, the conflict can arise again. This is especially true when there is a dramatic change in the family, such as the death of a parent.

When your parent passes away and it comes time to distribute the estate, an age-old rivalry may rear its ugly head in the form of probate litigation. If your sibling is challenging the will or making another type of claim against the estate, you may get stuck in a nasty battle over your inheritance.

Contributing factors

Although there may be a history of contention between you and your sibling, that is likely not the only reason the probate dispute is occurring. There are many things that may cause your sibling to file a probate claim:

  • Left out of the will: If your sibling does not receive any money or assets from your parent, he or she may pursue probate litigation out of anger, resentment or suspicion.
  • Lack of communication: Not all parents are upfront about their estate plans. If something catches your sibling by surprise because of no prior explanation, there is a higher chance of conflict.
  • Another sibling is the executor: If you or another sibling is the executor and another one is not, this may cause a rift.

Any combination of these factors can cause your brother or sister to lash out in the form of estate litigation.

Legal grounds for contesting a will

Your sibling may be making a number of assertions about the will. For example, he or she may suspect undue influence, lack of mental capacity, fraud or improper execution of the document. But your sibling must be able to provide significant evidence to prove that any portion or all of the will is invalid.