The Top Five Reasons Why Families Fight Over Inheritances

Loveless familyWhy Families Fight Over Inheritances?

In “Blood and Money: Why Families Fight Over Inheritances and What to Do About It, “author Mark Accettura draws on his experience of 30 years of research in the fields of evolutionary psychology, gerontology, psychiatry, Gen. psychology and neuropsychology into his theories.

Not surprisingly to, but  perhaps surprising to others, is that he finds GREED is rarely the principal motive in fighting families.

He posits five basics reasons for family inheritance disputes:

1. One or more members of the family has a partial or full blown personality disorder that causes them to distort and escalate natural family rivalries into personal and legal battles;

2. Our psychological sense of self is intertwined with the approval then inheritance tends represents especially if the descendent is a parent.

At we have frequently commented and observed that money is often equated with love, and conversely lack of inheritance is equated with lack of love, particularly  from a parent;

3. Humans are genetically predisposed to competition and conflict;

4. We are genetically hardwired to be on the lookout for exclusion, sometimes finding it where it doesn’t exist;

5. Families fight because the death of a loved one activates the death anxieties of those left behind;

He mentioned and again is it is the experience of, that a significant number of inheritance disputes  involve testator’s or beneficiaries from dysfunctional families who are mentally ill or addicted, or so suffer from one or more various personality disorders such as antisocial, borderline histrionic, and particularly narcissistic.

Wills Variation- Long Time Relationship

Ross v Bloomfield 2010 BCSC 594 is a wills variation action brought by a surviving husband after his common law partner of 21 years died.

The deceased left a will dated April 2003 in which she left her common law partner $6000, while the residue of her estate was divided between a church, nephew, niece and some grandnephews.

The deceased had no children and the plaintiff had one son. He lived with the parties for several years while he attended University.

He considered the deceased to be his stepmother and inluded her her as his family“

At the deceased`s death, the plaintiff was retired, owned a clear title house worth $1,240,000, and had investments of approximately $150,000.

The deceased had some health problems including an injury to his foot with left him with a walking disability, diabetes, and liver cancer for which he underwent surgery in the fall of 2003.

Approximately one month before her death the deceased attempted to execute a new will which appointed the plaintiff executor, and left him the residue of the estate.

While the plaintiff did apparently sign her name to the will, it was not properly executed, and thus was not a valid will.

However, the judge did consider the new will“ as evidence of her intentions to provide for her spouse.

At the time of the deceased death, the plaintiff’s net worth was approximately 5 times the size of the deceased estate.

The court found that the plaintiff used his savings during the years that the deceased was unemployed and unable to contribute towards the parties expenses.

The court found that because of this, the plaintiff used his inheritance, earnings, and savings for the deceased benefit, which deprived him of an opportunity to create more assets for himself.

The court found that the plaintiff had established that his financial resources were inadequate to meet and sustain the quality of life enjoyed during his relationship with the deceased.

The court specifically found that the plaintiff was not obligated to reduce his already modest lifestyle.

Accordingly the court ordered that the plaintiff received 70% of the net value of the estate. specifically applauds the reasoning of this decision in favor of a common-law spouse, over more distant relatives. specifically agrees with the courts reasoning that the husband’s net worth, in relation to the deceased, was not a factor in considering whether he had been adequately provided for by his spouse.

Undue Influence Dismissed as Long Hostile Relationship Between Siblings

Long sibling rivalry

Sibling’s Claim of Undue Influence Dismissed

Calbrick v Wolgram Estate 2009 BCSC 1222 is an unfortunate example of a fact pattern that occurs all too often in estate litigation.

Basically, one sibling alleged his sister obtained substantial gifts from their mother using undue influence, and abusing her mother’s power of attorney.Continue reading