It is not uncommon for the contents of a loved one’s will to disappoint at least one prospective heir. The disappointment may stem from receiving a smaller portion than anticipated or from being cut out of the will altogether. Blended families, multiple marriages and other factors may complicate the Ohio estate planning process, and some who feel short-changed by a loved one’s bequest may seek satisfaction in probate court. However, will contests are not for the faint of heart.
Someone who is considering contesting a will should understand the challenges he or she will face. To begin with, a will contest will almost certainly pit family members against each other, and the rifts that result may last a lifetime. The discovery phase may be brutal, and other heirs may try to portray the contestant as greedy. It will be important for the contestant to be well-prepared for the negative aspects of the process.
Anyone planning to dispute the contents of a will should be aware of Ohio’s time limit for filing suit. Meeting with an attorney as soon as possible after the death of the loved one is a good way to get started on building a strategy. Contesting a will is not cheap, and the loss of an inheritance worth only a few hundred dollars may not be worth the cost of probate litigation. However, if a fortune is on the line, heirs may agree it is worth fighting for their rights.
In many cases, will contests can be settled without the cost and stress of a trial. Ohio residents who feel a loved one’s will treats them unfairly would be wise to seek an attorney who is comfortable with negotiations as well as in the courtroom. A good start is to receive an honest assessment of the situation and advice about the most appropriate way to proceed.