What causes probate disputes?

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | Probate Litigation

When a family member passes away, settling their estate can bring hidden tensions to the surface and, sometimes, even lead to prolonged legal battles. Known as probate litigations, these disputes can stem from a variety of issues, such as questions about the validity of a will or disagreements among beneficiaries over what they are entitled to.

These conflicts can be emotionally draining, financially costly and even cause lasting damage to family relationships. Here are some of the common issues that arise during the probate process.

Will contests

Losing a loved one is never easy, and the last thing on anyone’s mind is a bitter dispute over their will. When emotions are already running high, disagreements over the will can be a devastating added stress for families. Unfortunately, will contests are a common reality in probate cases. There are many reasons why these disputes arise. For instance, some family members may genuinely believe that their loved one was not of sound mind when they created their will. Others may suspect that someone exerted undue influence over the deceased or even committed outright fraud.

Beneficiary disputes

These conflicts often involve the deceased’s family members or close friends who are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their loved one. The disagreements typically center around the distribution of assets, the interpretation of the will or the executor’s actions. However, with clear communication and detailed estate planning, these disputes can often be avoided or at least minimized.

Executor misconduct

As the person responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes, the executor plays a vital role in the probate process. They are responsible for managing the estate, paying off debts and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. However, with this great responsibility comes the risk of allegations of misconduct. Beneficiaries may suspect that the executor is mishandling assets, failing to distribute the estate fairly or neglecting their fiduciary duties. When this happens, it can lead to lengthy delays and added legal expenses – not to mention the emotional toll it can take on everyone involved.

For many, navigating the probate process can be a daunting task, particularly during times of grief. Knowing and addressing these potential conflicts with the right legal guidance can be a great first step toward a more streamlined and less stressful probate process in the future. 


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