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Maumee Probate Litigation Blog

Do you understand testamentary capacity?

Challenging a will is easier said than done, as you need to have a reason to move forward with the process. In other words, people can't contest a will because they feel like they didn't receive what they deserve.

There are many grounds for contesting a will, with testamentary capacity often at the top of the list.

What might make a will challengeable?

When a person dies with a will, it generally controls the distribution of their estate. However, it only does this if it is valid. There are a variety of things that could potentially invalidate a will or some of its provisions. When these factors are present, they can be grounds for challenging a will. Will challenges, and how they are resolved, can have major impacts for families and other beneficiaries.

Contesting estate administration over breach of fiduciary duty

When a loved one passes away, the last thing you want to do is mire the estate in court without good reason. In fact, many people may overlook inappropriate or questionable behavior by an executor or trustee in good faith, assuming that person is simply doing the best he or she can for the situation.

Sometimes, however, serious mistakes, oversights or attempts to profit from the estate could necessitate bringing a challenge. In many respects, the estate plan, trust or last will is the final legacy of your loved one. He or she went through the effort to create the plan in the belief that those wishes would be accurately and carefully executed. Incompetence or greed should not diminish the legacy of someone you love.

3 reasons to remove a trustee from a trust

The role of trustee comes with some very serious responsibilities. For example, if you are the beneficiary of a trust, you will expect the trustee to make financial decisions for the trust that are in the best interests of you and any other beneficiaries. Because of this high level of trust that beneficiaries must have in trustees, the law holds trustees to a very high standard.

In general, there are several people that have the power to remove a trustee who is not adequately performing his or her duties. This usually includes the beneficiaries, the court and any other individuals that the trust documents grant this power to. There are several reasons why you should remove a trustee.

Not just anyone can challenge a will

Challenging a will is necessary when you have a valid reason to believe that the will isn't correct. A previous blog post discussed some of the reasons why a person might challenge a will. On top of having a valid reason, you must have a status that allows you to challenge.

There are a few different points that you must consider when you are determining if you can challenge a will.

The probate process without a will

While most people understand the importance of creating an estate plan, not everyone goes through this process. For this reason, it's possible that people could pass on before they create wills.

When a person passes on without a will (intestate), property is distributed based on the state's intestate succession laws.

Determining lack of capacity when disputing a will

When there is a dispute over a person's will, one of the questions may be if he or she had the capacity to make decisions or changes to that document. It's not always easy to challenge a will, but if a person can prove that a lack of capacity played a role in a person's decision making before death, then he or she could have a solid case in court.

When determining if a loved one lacked capacity, it's vital to look into medical records. Typically, functional assessments look into a patient's needs along with his or her physical and mental health. As people age, it's common to see them struggle with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

Top reasons to challenge a will

Typically, all but one percent of wills go through the probate process without a problem. This is because courts generally take the stance that a will is in the decedent's voice and conveys his or her final wishes. And, since that individual can no longer speak about those wishes, Ohio courts will usually stand by the document. This can make challenging a will very difficult.

If you plan to challenge a loved one's will, for instance your father's, then certain grounds must exist. In other words, you must have a valid reason to bringing forth a challenge. To find out some of the most common reasons for challenging a will, read further.

Undue influence: Don't let it cost you an inheritance

For as long as you can remember, your father always told you that you'd inherit the estate. You're an only child, and you have been there for him during his time in need.

When your father passed away, you prepared to take over the estate and to take care of business. You were shocked, and rightly so, when you discovered you hadn't inherited anything. Instead, your father had willed away the estate to someone who cared for him in the nursing home. You suspect that something isn't right, and you may be correct. Undue influence on a person can result in changes to wills or trusts, and it can make it hard for you to inherit what is rightfully yours. Fortunately, you can contest the will if you believe that your father was influenced to change it prior to his death.

These 3 tips help you find hidden or missing assets

One of the things that can make moving on after a loved one's death difficult is being unable to locate his or her assets. When you can't locate assets, it could make it hard to finalize the estate plans. It could also mean that someone has taken advantage of your loved one, which is something you want to clear up right away.

How can you locate a decedent's hidden or missing assets? There are a few different things you can try including looking at your loved one's personal paperwork, safes and other potential hiding spots.

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