The probate process is notoriously complex, even without the possibility of litigation. When issues that involve litigation arise, it can create even more issues.
There are several types of situations and disputes that can prompt litigation. Three of the most common involve issues regarding: inequity, challenges in duties and validity of the will.
Family and money can often prompt dispute. In many cases, the most common reason for probate litigation involves arguments over the distribution of the assets.
Sibling rivalry, second marriages and other types of disfunction within the family can cause challenges during probate as people argue over their fair share. Beneficiaries may feel entitled to extra or more equal shares of the estate, leading to litigation.
Naming an executor who takes over the financial responsibilities of the estate is an important decision. However, this choice can also prompt litigation for several reasons.
The named executor may not want the responsibilities of executor, or members of the family may disagree about their capabilities. In addition, beneficiaries may attempt to accuse the executor of improper or even fraudulent behavior.
Validity of the Will
Challenges to the will is another common dispute that leads to probate litigation. There are several reasons a beneficiary or others may question the validity of the will. Mental capacity and intent/mistakes can both be challenged when examining the will which can lead to further challenges during the probate process.
These are just a few types of issues that can cause litigation during the probate process. The process of distributing a loved one’s estate can be highly emotional and intense, causing various problems. However, a solid estate plan can prevent some to all of these issues.