For many Californians, the last aspect of a family member’s death that comes to mind is the money left behind. First, surviving family must discuss funeral costs and plans, help other family members cope and even decide the next step for a surviving elderly spouse or minor children. However, financial steps during this time are generally a necessity, and some surviving family find themselves in a situation they had never imagined before: a dispute over inheritance. 

Money disputes are no new occurrence; unfortunately, they are capable of dividing relatives and even destroying relationships. When it comes to estate planning, Forbes magazine takes a look at why, exactly, so many siblings dispute over inheritances. With the roughly $30 trillion projected to be inherited over the next three decades, the nation’s children and grandchildren are bound to fight over amounts at some point down the road. The reason? Some experts suggest that younger generations are not currently saving for retirement as much as their parents had in the past. Others simply feel entitled to their parents’ inheritance and expect the money to cover their own retirement plans. Forbes takes into account the speculation from psychologists, as well, noting that today’s money-fueled society can easily facilitate disputes. As older generations age, Forbes also notes that discussing plans openly with children is one way to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

The American Association of Retired Persons views the problem of inheritance disputes through a closer lens, adding that such disagreements do not always stem from greed. Instead, power struggles can take place between siblings, where the term “money” can translate to not only financial support, but also love and approval. Aligning with the Forbes article, the AARP adds that parents should arrange family meetings to discuss estate planning, retirement and health care planning. The topic may seem a difficult one, but sorting out the kinks at the beginning can help families avoid future trouble.