Probate is the legal process for paying debts and distributing remaining assets after a loved one passes away. Occasionally, problems arise during probate that result in litigation. Often, families enter probate litigation to contest a will.
There are three common strategies to have a will invalidated.
· Unmet provisions. A beneficiary can argue that provisions in state statute were unmet during the execution of the will, therefore, it’s invalid.
· Lack of capacity. Another common argument is that the decedent was not of sound mind at the time of the will.
· Undue influence. If a beneficiary believes that the someone influenced the decision of the decedent, they can claim undue influence.
All families are uniquely complex and nothing makes that more apparent than in probate litigation. The death of a loved one is a highly emotional time, made even more emotional by the division of their assets. Here are a few common causes for family probate disputes.
· Equitability. It’s common for beneficiaries to expect more than they actually receive. Sometimes, a will doesn’t account for an object or an asset that one heir claims ownership of.
· Resentment. When an executor is named, there are usually several others left feeling resentful. This resentment of the one holding the power can often lead to harsh judgement of every decision made.
If you find yourself involved in probate litigation, you can reduce complications by honoring the decedent as best as possible and holding others to that same standard.