I can't imagine losing a parent, or being a widow, let alone the stress of a Will dispute on top of that.
I haven't done a will, and don't really feel the need to, as property is dealt with in the options you pick during conveyancing, regarding ownership, and I don't have anything else of value.
There'd be no fighting if I died, unless it was over my books.
I'll talk about Ireland though, as I have done in a recent post.
During my childhood, mortgages were something you did not hear of in Ireland. Everyone I knew of either inherited their parent's home, and if they were not the sibling to be so lucky, then they'd inherit some land on which they could build a property. Considering a couple comes from two sets of parents, sometimes one side would provide the land and the other some financial help. Plus, in Ireland, people often have the ability (with help) to build a house themselves, only having to pay for architects etc...
The thing that I did see, sadly, several times throughout my childhood time and time again, was will disputes.
Always over land and property. And not, surprisingly always amongst siblings.
One of the worst fallings out I saw, was where a nephew (my Uncle) expected to receive property from his Uncle (my Great Uncle).
What amazes me, is when these people have property of their own already!
I even saw, in my very young years, someone come over from the States to dispute a will, and I remember some furniture being burned as a result - being how young I was I don't remember if the aggrieved was the burner, or if it was pre-emptive to prevent his paws getting on anything.
Bad enough that people are all grieving and not only attending funerals and burials, but being that it is Holy Ireland, a wake too. But, add to that the stress of disputed claims, and grievances, you see a whole lot of stress.
I've never witnessed it in England the way I have in Ireland.
I've even seen someone in America (not a personal relative of mine) inheriting a parental family property in Ireland he'd not set foot in for decades, when the siblings who'd cared for the parents only lived next door. Of course they were aggrieved and rightly so. Add to that he leaves it empty and only visits once a year, and the tension gets worse. Amplify it once again, another sibling, when visiting from the UK, is not allowed to stay there, despite the fact that turning on the heating etc would be good for the house and the soul.
I just did some research online about land, history and Ireland and came across this: Irish History - Boycott and it would seem that the word boycott originates from Mayo (who'd have guessed), which astounds me as (1) I did not know that and (2) my family on my Mum and Dad's side are both from Mayo so I am fascinated. Bet nobody in my family knows that.
I already knew that the phrase beyond the pale originates from Dublin, so I do know some things, ha!
The extra complication we had in my Mum's family was that there was a house AND a shop (plus a travelling shop) to be inherited. My Mum was one of seven, so the decision was not going to be easy. My Grandparents solved the Will problem, by bequeathing all 3 things during their lifetime. Yes, this meant a Will was not necessary, BUT it did not stop the sibling rivalry or fighting. Two brothers still do not speak to this day.
I have nothing to inherit so I cannot at all relate to it, or how deep the emotions go. Is it something that relates to agricultural countries due to the historical importance of the land, or do Will disputes happen in the UK too? Actually a quick Google and I have found lots on Mumsnet so it clearly happens here too. Same thing, with rifts that last for decades. If you are one of my many readers from overseas, then I would be interested to hear what happens in your country. Let me know in the comments.
If you live in the UK and have been affected by this post Redress Law look after Wills and inheritance disputes. This post was a collaboration with them.