Ideally, a will can guide surviving family members and the probate court on how to properly distribute the deceased’s estate. But sometimes, specific circumstances can cause disputes and lead to probate claims. These claims can result in disputes and even litigation based on the situation.
These cases might only undergo litigation if their claims have a firm legal basis that contradicts the terms within the deceased’s will. Claimants can exercise their probate rights if they have valid reasons, including the following:
- The decedent has unpaid debts to the claimant.
- One or some of the beneficiaries were directly or indirectly liable for the testator’s death.
- One or some of the beneficiaries were involved in the events leading up to or contributing to the testator’s death.
- The testator drafted the most recent version of the will when they were mentally incapacitated.
- The will has a fake signature, fraudulent statements and elements impacting the will’s validity.
- Evidence proves that the testator drafted the most updated version of the will through coercion.
Sometimes, beneficiaries can contest the will for various reasons, such as not receiving a fair amount of the estate or becoming excluded from the will altogether. Additionally, some circumstances could cause disputes, especially if the decedent had vague family ties. These incidents often require further verification to determine the rightful beneficiaries of the estate.
Planning adequately to avoid probate claims and disputes
Unfortunately, drafting a will cannot guarantee a smooth estate administration process. These legal documents usually require further consultation with legal and estate planning specialists to address potential conflicts.
Doing so can seem tedious, but running the extra mile can help prevent unnecessary claims that may add distress to an already grieving family. Making adequate preparations could help the surviving family members focus on supporting each other instead of arguing about the estate.