When our deceased loved ones’ estates go through probate, we aim to make the process as smooth as possible to ensure a proper distribution of their assets and avoid delays. However, roadblocks can arise during the process, including disagreements among family members.
Unfortunately, family disputes during probate are common and usually slow down the process, resulting in additional costs and stress for the decedent’s heirs.
Nonetheless, you can prevent these consequences by anticipating and settling issues before they affect the probate process.
What are usual concerns of family members?
Common family disputes that can arise during probate include the following:
- Will contests: Without the testator to validate the contents of their will, family members can challenge the document’s validity for reasons such as lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence.
- Disagreements about a will’s language: If a will’s language is even a bit vague or ambiguous, disagreements about its interpretation may arise between family members.
- Asset valuation disputes: The value of an estate’s assets may become a cause for dispute, especially since it affects how much each heir and beneficiary receives during probate.
- Claims against the estate: Family members or relatives may file claims against the estate, which could lead to disputes about the legitimacy of the claims.
- Omitted heirs: Due to various reasons, such as oversight or forgetting to update the will, testators may fail to mention their children or potential heirs in the document, giving rise to disputes about the omission during probate.
Without established strategies to prevent or minimize these disputes, heirs and beneficiaries may face an overly complex and emotionally draining probate process. Hence, preparing for all scenarios and developing clear strategies to avoid disputes among family members would be beneficial.