The process of estate planning can involve some rather difficult decisions. Not only do individuals consider the wide array of legal instruments available, but the actual process of selecting beneficiaries can be challenging.
As we discussed in a blog post on May 6, family members may not be the only priority for individuals looking to create a will. In fact, some people might have charitable priorities -- or simply do not have a close relationship with certain family members. At the same time, certain relatives might have greater financial needs than others, which could cause a person to adjust the amount of assets specific individuals receive in a will.
Given the often sensitive nature of familial relationships, estate administration can be a very emotional and personal experience. After all, a person might feel hurt or confused if he or she is given a smaller share of assets than a sibling or another relative. Of course, this type of occurrence can provide fuel for litigation. In pursuing a will contest, some individuals may seek to get a larger share of an estate if they feel like they were unfairly or unnecessarily passed over.
If probate litigation is filed, it is obviously something that's necessary to resolve. A person's true wishes should be upheld, and litigation could help correct glaring errors.
Estate litigation can be costly and time consuming for everyone involved. Keeping this in mind, it may ultimately be most beneficial to take steps to prevent a legal claim from being filed. Not only can a carefully crafted will help remove doubts about the fairness or efficacy of an estate plan, but it may also be useful to explain the terms of the document to loved ones and potential beneficiaries. This way, any disparities or questions can be addressed.
Handling or preventing estate litigation can be very tricky, which is why individuals may want to seek assistance before moving forward with a plan. Our firm has experience effectively dealing with these issues. As mentioned earlier, working through with will contests can be touchy, requiring a dose of skill and finesse.
To find out more, please visit our firm's probate litigation page.