There are a number of factors which could lead to disputes about a will in a family. Unfortunately, there is a growing trend toward claiming a dominant family member is incompetent, and the beneficiaries need access to those funds or that power now. Three factors to consider when predicting competency disputes are the fact that Americans are living longer, the size of the estate, and unresolved family tensions.

By 2030 it is projected that US men will live to be around 80 on average with US women expecting to live to almost 84. While living longer is something we can all look forward to, longer lives also means waiting longer until receiving an inheritance. Children who may have expected to receive their inheritance are now waiting until they are in their 60s. This can lead to family members making an argument that their aging parent is no longer competent.

We might not want to believe it, but we can be greedy when it comes to our inheritance. With a larger estate means there could be more people who feel they are entitled to receive something. When dealing with large amounts of land, or a successful family business, people are more likely to end up in a dispute over the estate. Because the wealth has been so centrally controlled for such a long period of time, some people may try to balance that power by claiming the person is no longer competent.

Family tensions
Finally, sometimes those fights from childhood can come back to haunt parents when they get older and those children want their inheritance now. While small fights or wrongs may seem inconsequential, some children may feel that getting what they think they deserve now can help ease some of those long-standing, deep-seeded pains. If there are family rifts, it may be a good idea to try to resolve those conflicts before that energy is channeled into a competency dispute.

The Takeaway: By having an open and honest conversation, family members may be able to avoid costly court appearances dealing with competency. The family member who may have their competency called into question should make sure to have safeguards in place to protect their interest.

– The Business Team
Scott | Josh | Jeremy

The Allen Firm, PC
181 S. Graham Street | Stephenville, Texas 76401
Ph: 254.965.3185 | Fax: 254.965.6539


The Allen Firm, PC is composed of a team of attorneys located in Stephenville, Texas. Our mission is to improve people’s lives by providing reliable and practical help with their legal matters while operating under our values of honoring people, operating with integrity and striving for excellence. We offer help in forming businesses or companies, estate planning, lawsuits, real estate, probate, oil and gas, collections, agriculture, bankruptcy, family law, and accident and injuries.


*This article has been written and provided for educational purposes in an attempt to provide the reader with a general understanding of the particular topic and area of law covered in this Article.  It is not to be relied upon for any purpose.  The reader acknowledges the underlying analysis and legal conclusions referenced in this Article may be inaccurate by the changing of the law or by a controlling court opinion to the contrary.  No attorney-client relationship exists until an appropriate engagement letter has been signed. Contact our Firm to discuss how the contents of this Article may apply to your specific situation.