To ask how common it is for family siblings to fall out due to disputes over wills...

(188 Posts)
BraveMerida Wed 01-Jan-14 20:00:40

....for whatever reasons? And how long did it take for it to finally resolve?

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Wed 01-Jan-14 21:44:53

I can't understand why so many people hold a grudge against somebody who had no say though.
A will is literally what it is, a persons will to do what they bloody well want to with their money.
I guess you can't take it out on the dead so you blame the alive.
Sometimes its not so easy to do the obvious and split the money with the person over looked.
Quite often, they may won't want to even talk to you, let alone take the money.
Why do people try to dispute wills? Unless the person wasn't of sound mind or it was made under duress the will stands iirc

WipsGlitter Wed 01-Jan-14 21:45:37

My aunt was miffed she didn't get more (anything?) her fathers will, she didn't get to see the will so went to the public records office to see it.

I suspect there will be a falling out because BiL is an arse over fils will when the time comes.

ConferencePear Wed 01-Jan-14 22:06:46

Sometimes it's more than just money. When DP's aunt died she left everything she owned to the RSPCA which sounds fair enough.
The trouble was it included some (not particularly valuable) jewellery which had belonged to DP's grandmother and which his sister would have liked as she could remember her grandmother wearing it.
In the end she had to buy it from the RSPCA. It was all legal, but it seemed a bit shabby.

Ememem84 Wed 01-Jan-14 22:15:57

Dh's fathers will is a traditional 'family' will where we are. Everything goes to the oldest son.

Dh is the oldest of 3 sons. So will inherit. But had always maintained he will split equally.

The problem we forsee is that dfil had a daughter from a previous marriage. She's 10years older than dh. But unless fil has specifically left her something legally she'll get nothing. I suspect dh would share 4 ways though. I hope he would. Anything for a quiet life.

ddubsgirl Wed 01-Jan-14 22:17:39

I lost £10,000 from my nans will sad I got £5,000 after she died and as my mum died the year before she left my dad my mums share then my eldest cousin abit more as she use to live with my nan then me & my bro and then my 2 other cousins I didnt know about the 10 grand as in her will it was stated to be held in trust for all grankids till 25 but for some reason the money was all released my dad ended up with more than my mums brother which they fell out over the 5 grand was sent to me but the rest was sent to my dad to look after till I was 18 never ever saw it didnt find out till I was 20 when my brother told me he had got 15 grand and he had asked our dad about it when I was 18 and he said he was sorting it but he passed away when I was 19 never found out where the money went dad never had a will so stepmum ended up with everything

WholeLottaRosie Wed 01-Jan-14 22:36:07

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UptheChimney Wed 01-Jan-14 22:38:29

My brother is due to be left an estate currently worth about £9 million, by a mad old great aunt, not a blood relative. Her husband, our blood great Uncle wanted everything split 5 ways between his nephews and nieces

The only honourable thing for your brother to do in this situation is to split the inheritance between his uncles/aunts as his great-uncle wished. This is what happened in my father's family when one of his siblings was omitted from his fathers will (a substantial estate like your great-uncle's).

wonderstuff Wed 01-Jan-14 22:44:52

My greatgran died in the 80's, for reasons only known to herself my nan has decided recently that her sister didn't disclose properly what was in the will and they aren't talking, my nan is in her 80's, I've no idea why she is behaving like this, it's very sad.

Not really much money to pass on in my family really, mums family had very little, which makes my Nan's behaviour even more baffling, dad's family have up to now just hoarded all the assets, I've just helped clear a house that has been in the family for 70 years, so much junk!

We haven't fallen out, but when I helped my dad clear my other grandmothers house recently, I took a couple of things that I wanted to keep, the rest was sold, I made sure my db came up once, to see if he wanted anything, maybe china for his dd, something to remind him of dgp, he was so grabby, taking things because he thought he could sell them, stuff was getting sold anyway, so not a deal, just we didn't have the same intentions. I was sad he didn't have the same sentimental attachment.

bearleftmonkeyright Wed 01-Jan-14 22:46:53

My feeling is a will is just that. Your last will and testament. It is nigh on impossible to contest a will unless you are prepared to drag it out with solicitors and any settlement will probably be negotiated in mediation. Usually because one side wants it over with. The only people who win when wills are contested are solicitors. Best to accept the deceased persons wishes, unfairness does not come into it.

Purplepoodle Wed 01-Jan-14 22:51:19

Yep, brothers in family fell out, one brother (cause of the problems) is still not spoken of. It wasn't much money, it's what was said and accusations thrown. 10 years or so now

80sMum Wed 01-Jan-14 22:55:30

Oooh, if I found out that my beneficiaries were squabbling over who was getting what, I would change my will and leave the whole lot to charity!
I find disputes over a will very distasteful.

KitCat26 Wed 01-Jan-14 22:57:24

My grandpa's brother destroyed their newly deceased dad's will when he was asked to take it to the solicitors. It was a substantial inheritance in grandpa's favour. Effectively the old boy died intestate because of this, so his widow (whom he was about to divorce) inherited the lot and gave it to her favourite child. Grandpa never got a penny.

Thence ensued 30 years of hatred, lawyers fees and bitterness which only ended with the death of my great uncle.

Everyone else in my family is fairly normal (poor and split any inheritances equally) so there are no fights!

Gmil changed her will a couple of years before she died, leaving fil the majority of the estate. Fil and his brothers/sister have not spoken since (DH and I don't get involved, although if I did I'm afraid fil would be getting a few choice words from me).

Mil is also in the process of falling out with her brother and sister over dh's Nan's will. It wouldn't be so bad but his lovely, old, rather unwell and recently bereaved nan isn't dead yet hmm sad

Grennie Wed 01-Jan-14 23:36:05

Yes I have known this happening in friends and DP's family. But it has been when money has been left unequally to adult children, and it brings out long buried grievances about favouritism.

My family have no money, so we won't have any issues.

longingforsomesleep Thu 02-Jan-14 00:28:01

Fairest thing seems to be to leave everything to partner and then for everything to be shared equally between children - regardless of their situation.

I think once you get into leaving a bit more to one child because they're poorer than siblings or because they've cared for you more, that's when the trouble starts. It's bound to cause ill feeling.

My mum is leaving everything to be split equally between me and my sibling (or so she says!). DH's parents have decided they're going to skip a generation and leave everything to their grandkids!

mypavlova Thu 02-Jan-14 01:29:37

a last spiteful act my our dad actually brought my sister and I together. In life, he always sowed strife between us and played us against each other. In his will he split everything equally except that he left one thing, his pension fund, solely to her. Without any prompting she split it with me, and I made no objection. Because I expected it of him, but was not sure what to expect of her. It was so meaningful that she did the right thing by me, after allying with dad to bully me in earlier years.

The real problem is the executor, our uncle. He seems to think the definition of fiduciary has been switched in the dictionary with the definition of betrayal. There isn't a lot of money, it is mostly debt, but he seems determined to waste the money and find a way to stick the debt on the beneficiaries. It has been 5.5 years and still not resolved. Yet in a funny way, it is what my dad would have wanted, the scoundrel, not that he would have admitted it.

bragmatic Thu 02-Jan-14 02:59:55

It's very east to contest a will, bear. In fact those who have been left nothing contest without a second thought, because for the most part, they've got nothing to lose. Costs often come out of the estate.

It's a shitfull process for those left behind, for sure.

bragmatic Thu 02-Jan-14 03:02:11

Very easy, not east.

daisychain01 Thu 02-Jan-14 03:14:34

If I were ever to be left any money in a will, come what may, I will always ensure my brother receives a 50% split, no shadow of a doubt. I value him more than any money. In fact if he needs the money I would give him my share too. Not worth squabbling over and it means I sleep nights

Wills are probably the most divisive vehicle for dispensing of worldly goods, if only they didn't exist, they are rarely fair. Some of the sad stories on here show that.

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 02-Jan-14 07:26:12

Bragmatuc, you are right. What I meant was if it does end up in court from what I understand a court is very unlikely to change the will. My dp's mum went through this when she was left some money in a will. Solicitors just would keep throwing letters at each other. The deadlock was broken through mediation. From what I understand that is what the courts want to see. A shitfall process indeed. I could not believe how easily they could just say "not fair" and stop the distribution of a will so easily for years.

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 02-Jan-14 07:29:47

Also you can appoint a solicitor to do this on a no win no fee basis so yes, the person contesting has nothing to lose. It's extremely unfair and leaves those who have been left money in a will extremely vulnerable.

Moln Thu 02-Jan-14 07:34:08

My mother and her siblings have fallen out over their mother's will. Only cross words and mesness for just over two years now.

My nan isn't even dead.

flowery Thu 02-Jan-14 07:43:52

"Dh's fathers will is a traditional 'family' will where we are. Everything goes to the oldest son.

Dh is the oldest of 3 sons. So will inherit. But had always maintained he will split equally.

The problem we forsee is that dfil had a daughter from a previous marriage....unless fil has specifically left her something legally she'll get nothing."

Why is your DHs sister any different to his brothers in this scenario? Surely they would get nothing unless specifically left something also?

Ladyflip Thu 02-Jan-14 07:50:30

I'm a probate solicitor and sadly have to report that there are lots of fallings out over wills. It's very common. But I dispute that equality always equals fair. I deal with a lot of farming families and it is very difficult to judge those. The farm is sometimes worth millions, but often the son will have worked there for many years with a small income and splitting the farm makes it unviable as a business in the future.

But lots of people like falling out over wills. Of course, the first thing they always say is "it's not about the money". I wonder what the hell it is about then?

LadyIsabellasHollyWreath Thu 02-Jan-14 07:51:42

I disagree with the OP's claim that the will is completely binding and it's your duty to stick with it whether you like it or not. That sounds a lot like rationalisation by the beneficiary of an unfair position. People like Torcat's brother who find themselves the sole beneficiary of a truly unreasonable will have a very simple remedy in their hands - a Deed of Variation.

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