A dispute over a loved one’s estate needs sensitive handling and experienced representation. There can be a lot of personal feelings involved as well as large sums of money.
The important thing is to uphold the deceased’s wishes fairly and transparently to allow grieving family members to get on with their life as soon as possible.
You might think that upholding the deceased’s wishes is simply a case of following their will. However, sometimes there are valid reasons to suspect that the information contained in the document is not what the deceased truly wanted.
Who can challenge a will?
If you are a beneficiary or would have inherited if there were no will, you might be able to challenge it. Here are some reasons you might consider doing so:
- Undue influence: Maybe you feel someone took advantage of the deceased’s weak state in their final months and exercised undue influence to have them change things in their favor. If the final version of the will varies considerably from an earlier one you saw, this may well be the case.
- A lack of testamentary capacity: You might feel the deceased did not know what they were doing when they wrote the will. If you can show they were mentally impaired to a high degree, you may claim they lacked testamentary capacity.
- Unclear or badly written documents: There may be confusion over some of the terms of your loved one’s will because the assets aren’t clearly defined or the paperwork doesn’t comply with state law.
Alternatively, you might disagree with how the executor or trustee is managing things. Maybe you suspect they are self-dealing or favor one beneficiary over the rest. Perhaps it is just that they are doing a poor job which is causing unnecessary delays in the distribution of the estate or leading to excessive wastage of assets. In both cases, you might seek their removal.
Whatever your reasons for considering litigation, it is crucial to get legal assistance to examine whether you have a viable case and, if so, to increase your chances of success. We help families dealing with estate and trust disputes. Contact us for a consultation.