There are few occasions that stir up controversy among family members as swiftly and with more volatility than a will or inheritance dispute. Surviving relatives, creditors, and other stakeholders have the option to contest a will – and ultimately go to court – even if the deceased was very explicit in his or her final plans.
There are many reasons the validity of a will might be contested. Common reasons include:
Depending on the extent of the litigation, the court process can drain many assets from the estate. Surviving family members should consider the costs and frustrations of litigation compared to the more positive alternatives. If possible, family members should look at more pleasant alternatives, such as mediation or litigation.
In many cases, probate disputes can be resolved proficiently, and everyone involved may be satisfied with the outcome. That being said, these kinds of disputes can also result in long-term hostility. Sometimes, these hardships are out of your control. However, it is necessary to strive for a favorable outcome.
Effective estate planning is the best and easiest way to avoid probate disputes. This is especially true in a mixed family, such as a homestead that is the decedent’s separate property (i.e., the decedent acquired the home before marriage). This situation often creates tension between the surviving spouse and the kids from outside of the decedent’s last marriage. In this case, the surviving spouse may want to stay in the home, but, without a will, the kids often end up being the ones who own the home.
If you are curious to learn more about the probate process and your personal options, look through our website to access more information that can help you move forward. We know how emotionally destructive these concerns can be.
If you have any questions you would like answered by a probate litigation attorney, schedule a free consultation now.