Thu, 27 Jul 06
Figures out today reveal that 1 in 4 families have fallen out over the contents of a will, with a staggering 42% of siblings never speaking again.
The research, conducted by YouGov for Scottish Widows, revealed that women are more likely to hold a grudge than men with 46% (compared to 36%) of women falling out with brothers and sisters permanently. Sibling rivalry is the strongest, with most family fallings out being between brothers and sisters.
When it comes to dividing of an estate, money is by far the biggest sticking point for families, with 35% of all rows being over the cold hard cash. 1 in 5 (20%) think the estate was divided unfairly, 12% felt they deserved more cash, while 5% contested that they were verbally promised an item that wasn’t then left to them.
According to psychologist Donna Dawson, family rows over inheritance not uncommon. "Money is a very emotional issue, and never more so than at the time of a family member’s death when feelings are running high and old jealousies resurface," said Donna. "Often for those family members left behind, primitive tribal feelings will come to the fore. This is especially true of step-brothers and sisters where ‘blood’ relatives will feel more entitled to cash than those related by marriage."
Almost two thirds (60%) of people have yet to make a will, and it seems that only something life changing such as illness (49%) a serious accident (38%) or having kids (28%) will prompt those who haven’t to finally take action. A staggering 16% have no intention of ever making one.
Anne Young, tax expert at Scottish Widows commented: "The research reveals a general misconception that making a will should only be done when the person making it has substantial wealth to leave. True the bigger the estate, the more complex the division of it will be however, a will isn’t just about the estate."
"It can prevent arguments over who’ll look after children right down to the divvying up of items that may be of little monetary value but which could cause unnecessary upset if fought over by those left behind."
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