Unequal inheritances are one of the main reasons for estate disputes between siblings. Inevitably, a lot of the children who got less -- even if their parents thought they had a good reason -- feel like they were treated unfairly.
This does not happen as often with traditional families, where all of the children belong to the same two parents. Research shows that parents will more often leave all of these children the same amount in assets.
However, blended families often face more challenges. The same studies found that those with stepchildren were more likely to split things up unequally. Stepchildren could get cut out of a will or get far less than genetic children.
The number of unequal bequests has been climbing. For instance, back in 1995, they were seen in a mere 16 percent of wills. By just 2010, only 15 years later, that percentage had jumped to 35. It nearly doubled in such a short time. Moreover, it was about 30 percent more common for parents with stepchildren to leave these unequal bequests. Clearly, those with blended families more often feel that estate plans do not need to be fair.
As you can imagine, this can definitely create estate disputes. Stepchildren may always have wondered if their parents felt the same about them as their genetic children, and this could even have formed childhood rivalries between the kids. When the will appears unequal, it reignites those rivalries and pits children against one another.
Do you have any questions about how to proceed during a dispute? If so, our website offers a lot of helpful information.