The probate process can be enormously complicated, even when an estate plan left behind by a loved one seems relatively clear. This is certainly the case when multiple wills are discovered. The question at this point is which will is valid and therefore enforceable? After all, the wills may not be dated, may contain conflicting provisions, or be unclear as to who is to inherit.
Dealing with multiple wills
Generally speaking, the most recent will is the one that will be enforceable so long as it meets all legal requirements. But you have to ask yourself why multiple wills were created. After all, there may be several contributing factors, and not all of them are innocent.
While multiple wills may mean that your loved one owned property in multiple states or was simply trying to avoid taxes, it could also mean that he or she was subjected to coercion or undue influence. Look closer at the circumstances surrounding the wills to better determine if they’re valid.
However, even if as an estate administrator you believe that one will is valid and the others aren’t, you’ll need to be prepared for challenges and litigation. These challenges might include allegations that the will you support was forged, that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity at the time of the will’s execution, or that he or she was subjected to duress.
Regardless, if you’re facing multiple wills, be prepared and gather the evidence that’s needed to support your position and protect the estate.
Confidently navigate the probate process
Administering an estate is hard work, and it’s usually more overwhelming than people anticipate. That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to seek out help if you need it. By doing so, you can more confidently navigate the process and come out protecting the vision that the estate’s creator had for the future of his or her assets and his or her loved ones.