When a loved one dies, there are already a lot of emotions to process and details to handle with their estate. If problems arise during the probate process, everything becomes a lot harder.
If you want to avoid a probate dispute, it helps to understand why they happen. Some of the most common causes of problems include:
- Someone is contesting the will. An heir can’t challenge a will just because they’re unhappy with its terms. They can, however, contest a will if they think that another heir exerted undue influence over the testator before their death, the testator lacked the mental capacity to actually execute a will or that the will is technically invalid.
- There are multiple wills. Sometimes a testator will leave behind several different wills with conflicting terms. That can easily lead to problems between the heirs. It may take a court decision to decide which document supersedes the others.
- The executor can’t (or won’t) do their job. Sometimes, executors are simply overwhelmed with everything they’re expected to do. Other times, they simply don’t want the hassle. If an executor is dragging their heels, that can lead to problems with creditors or angry heirs.
- There are assets in multiple states. While most people have relatively few assets that need to pass through probate, some folks have vacation homes and other out-of-state assets that have to be managed. When that happens, there are complex regulations that can hold up the entire probate process.
If you’re concerned that there could be trouble ahead regarding an estate, it’s time to speak with someone who can help you identify the problems and potential solutions.