When a loved one passes away, you may have concerns about their estate’s disbursement. If their will is not straightforward, it can lead to squabbles in probate court. Yet, by understanding the potential for disputes, you can do your part to prevent contentious and costly proceedings.
Outdated estate plans
When people update their estate plan every few years, they reduce the odds of contention by establishing clear intentions. Yet, people often leave estate plans alone after their creation. If your loved one has done this, their will may disburse property they no longer own. Or, it may include people who were no longer part of their life – or are no longer living. When your loved one’s will does not reflect their affairs upon passing, it can cause confusion and disagreement among its beneficiaries in probate court.
Your relative may have considered their will’s executor trustworthy. Yet, this person may take measures to position themselves in a manner advantageous to themselves when probate begins. They may possess financial acumen or an understanding of your relative’s assets. But make sure that they haven’t influenced the will’s provisions or boxed out beneficiaries. Not only could this lead to a long untangling in probate court, it is a sign of potential financial abuse.
Your loved one’s will may be vague or stand at odds with verbal indications they made. Undoubtedly, family members will squabble about these details. Fights stemming from their will’s ambiguity will prolong the probate process. And it will diminish their estate’s value, too, since it pays for the proceedings.
While the disbursement of your loved one’s will could cause confusion and frustration, there are ways to diminish these. An estate planning attorney can help you find a way to proceed with the existing document.