If you have recently lost a loved one, chances are you may encounter the probate process. Unfortunately, probate has a notoriety for being contentious, lengthy and sometimes, resource-consuming. It doesn’t get any better if someone decides to dispute the testator’s will.
If you are a beneficiary, it is important to understand common disputes that may arise during the probate process. This way, you will be better prepared to protect your rights during and after the probate.
Here are some of the disputes that are likely to arise during probate.
Disputes regarding the validity of the estate planning documents
Texas laws have very clear requirements regarding what estate planning documents like a will can or cannot contain. These laws also outline how the will should be executed. For instance, you have to be at least 18 years old and in sound mind at the time of signing the will. Additionally, your will must be witnessed by at least two non-interested parties. A will that has validity issues will most likely be disputed.
Disputes may also arise if someone believes that the will and other estate planning documents have been forged or are fraudulent.
Perception of inequity
Most probate disputes boil down to who gets what. These happen when a beneficiary is dissatisfied with what has been left behind for them in the will. Likewise, sibling rivalries, second marriages and other changes within the family can lead to disputes during the probate, especially if the testator did not update their will appropriately.
Challenges with the executor
One of the most important decisions a testator can ever make is naming an executor who will take over the estate’s financial responsibilities and spearhead the probate process. However, their choice can also trigger disputes for a number of reasons. For instance, the named executor may not be interested in the task, or the beneficiaries may have reservations about their capability. All these can trigger disputes.
The process of litigating and distributing a loved one’s estate can be highly emotional and it’s wise to seek legal help if facing them.