Avoidable Issues That Can Lead to Probate Litigation
Fri Feb 17, 2023 | Probate | Share
In some cases, probate litigation is simply unavoidable and may, in fact, be the best way to resolve a dispute. Unfortunately, many probate disputes could be avoided if people were more proactive when it comes to their estate planning. As experienced probate litigation attorneys, we thought we would review some of the more common issues that lead to probate litigation that could be easily avoided.
Most wills are drafted long before they are needed, sometimes as a result of a major life event such as the birth of a child or a trip out of the country. Unfortunately, many people will draft their will and then never think about it again. As a result, their will may not reflect important changes in the decedent’s life such as divorce, remarriage, additional children, or the acquisition of significant financial assets. These missing details or a lack of clarity on these matters can spark a disagreement among the heirs as to how the will should be interpreted. Your will should be regularly reviewed and updated to make sure that it reflects your current situation in life.
Unqualified Personal Representatives
People often choose their personal representatives based on their relationship with them rather than their financial acumen or administrative skills. While the personal representative may be a trustworthy person with the very best intentions, they can become quickly overwhelmed by their responsibilities in administering the estate. This can lead to the mismanagement of estate assets, the mishandling of creditors’ claims, and general delays in administration that can deplete the value of the estate and harm beneficiaries. If you are involved with an estate where the personal representative is failing to perform their duties, you should contact a probate litigation attorney as soon as possible.
There are multiple reasons why there may be multiple wills in an estate:
- The testator is not of sound mind and has therefore forgotten about their previous will
- The testator thinks that their prior will has been automatically revoked by virtue of drafting a new will
- The testator believes that their prior will was lost or destroyed and must therefore draft a new will
Whatever the case may be, multiple wills typically mean that there are different outcomes for different heirs. As a result, an heir who finds themselves disinherited or inheriting significantly less than in a prior will may have a claim that must be resolved through a probate litigation attorney.
Another common cause of probate litigation is when people make amendments to their existing will. First, these amendments are often invalid under Florida law but can still lead to needless litigation. Second, even legally valid amendments can create conflicts and ambiguities that can lead to disputes. You may need to speak with a probate litigation attorney if you are dealing with conflicts and inconsistencies created by multiple will amendments.
Talk to a Probate Litigation Attorney at Ellis Law Group Today
At Ellis Law Group, we help our clients resolve will disputes quickly and cost-effectively. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today at 561-910-7500 to schedule an appointment.