It’s a stressful time when a loved one passes away. Unfortunately, this can be heightened by disputes over inheritance.
Disputes over inheritance happen when interested parties disagree with how the estate is set to be distributed. What are some of the most common sources of inheritance disputes?
When people are left out
An estate plan must accurately reflect the wishes of the creator. These wishes are carried out in practical terms by drafting suitable legal documents such as a will and trusts. In some cases, a testator may choose to disinherit someone from their will. This may be legally permitted, but that doesn’t mean it will go down well with the affected parties. They may lodge a legal claim once they find out they have been disinherited.
The act of leaving someone out of a will is not always deliberate. Perhaps the deceased had not updated their estate plan for several years. As a result, their new partner and children may have been left out of the will.
When changes are last minute
While an estate plan should be completely up to date, questions can arise if there were last-minute changes. The changes might have caught family members off guard. They may dispute whether or not these changes were sincere.
Undue influence is a common source of inheritance disputes. This occurs when the testator of a will has been pressured into making changes, often at the last minute when they are particularly vulnerable.
It’s important that the final wishes of the deceased are honored. If you’re drafting your estate plan or are in the midst of a dispute, having all of the relevant legal information will help you find favorable solutions.