When someone you love passes away, his or her estate may go through probate before distribution. Probate is sometimes costly and time-consuming. It can also result in various disputes among beneficiaries.
There are a lot of reasons that you may argue with other heirs about the probate process or estate itself. Here are some common inheritance disputes.
1. Undue influence
One reason for challenging a will is if the writer was unduly influenced by another person. If something in the will surprises you, you may suspect that someone close to the testator wrongfully convinced him or her to include it in the will. If you can prove undue influence, the judge may invalidate portions or even all of the will.
2. No recent updates
A lot may change with an estate over a period of years. If the decedent did not make any changes to his or her will for a long time, you may notice that certain assets are not in the document. This may result in you or another heir fighting over who gets the item.
3. Mismanagement of the estate
If there is an executor of the estate or trustee, he or she has an obligation to act in the best interest of the decedent. This person must follow the wishes in the will and other estate planning documents. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this rule. An executor or trustee might try to enrich him or herself. Other examples of estate mismanagement include failing to share details with heirs, making unwise investments and favoring certain beneficiaries over others.
Dealing with probate and estate distribution can be frustrating. It may take a lot of time and money to get through the process. If you are experiencing dissatisfaction with the distribution or management of an estate, you should talk to a lawyer to explore your legal options.