Wealthy families fight over estates for zillions of reasons.

Some family members may consciously or unconsciously link their self-worth to the perceived approval that an inheritance represents, or to the apparent disapproval that a disinheritance signals.

Other times, people who have just lost a loved one might face anxieties about their own mortality, which they could try to assuage by clinging to money and arguing over knickknacks.

In still other cases, family members with mental health and substance abuse issues—or those who are just plain jerks—can escalate ordinary grievances into major personal and legal battles.

Fortunately, private wealth advisors can anticipate these hostilities and the litigation they spawn by considering six common scenarios that lead to estate challenges and letting clients know about solutions well before the (mink) fur flies.

1. Inadequate Estate Planning

Although the uber-affluent can afford the crème de la crème of estate planners, after many of the rich and famous die, the popular press sizzles with news of easily avoidable planning mistakes.

Take the case of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, which involved two wills signed when she was at an advanced age and some less-than-stellar legal and tax advice.

“Huguette’s estate is an excellent example of what can go wrong in planning. Everything went wrong in that situation,” says John Dadakis, chair of law firm Holland & Knight’s private wealth services group in New York. Dadakis represented Clark’s estate.

Clark was the daughter of former U.S. Sen. William A. Clark of Montana, who made a fortune in copper mining. She died in 2011, just shy of 104 years of age. Clark signed two wills when she was 98 that became the subject of a contentious probate case.

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