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Disputing a will? Conflicts after a parent's death? Work it out

When your mother passed away, you didn't think there would be any issues. You and your siblings, you thought, were all on the same page. You thought you'd all just be happy with whatever you inherited and that you'd be working together to get through this tough time in your life.

Unfortunately, once the will made it clear that you were getting more than your brother and that your sister was getting less than all of you, there was a big break in your communication. Your sister was furious, and your brother didn't understand why your parents did this. Both of them were hostile toward you, and you didn't know what to do to calm the situation.

Your youngest sibling wants to contest the will, but you don't want to waste more time and money in court. It's not in anyone's best interest to continue fighting, in your opinion.

What can you do to stop a conflict over your parent's will or estate?

Normally, disputes over a will happen because people don't understand why they're being treated a certain way. For instance, maybe your sister was hoping to get the family home for her children, but it was given to your brother instead. Perhaps they were frustrated to receive physical assets when you received liquid assets, like cash or stocks.

It may be smart for all of you to sit down together in mediation or with your attorneys present to discuss how to avoid taking a will contest to court. For instance, your sister might be angry about getting less than both of you, but you may recall that your mom or dad lent her money for her new home's down payment that would make it even with what you received. Alternatively, there may be information with your parent's estate that explains why the assets were distributed as they were.

With attorneys present, it's also easier to discuss what would potentially happen in court. If your sibling wants to contest the will, she should know that there may not be a high likelihood of success. You should all talk about ways to resolve this conflict, so you can preserve your mother's wishes and also move forward.

Some siblings may decide on a new way to divide the inheritances. Others will agree to disagree and just go with what their parent left them. A worst-case scenario would be to contest the will in court, so you should make an effort to avoid that.

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