A will is an excellent way to ensure a smooth transition of assets after a loved one’s death. However, even if testators intend to make things easy for their grieving loved ones, things do not always go as planned.
The following types of estate disputes can arise, making asset distribution a challenge.
1. Trustees breach their fiduciary duty
Trustees and executors must follow guidelines written by the testator in a will or estate plan. They cannot choose to use assets in ways other than intended or gift money to themselves because they want a share. Should this occur, beneficiaries can file a complaint with the courts.
2. Family questions the validity of the will
Sometimes, one or more beneficiaries contest the will. There are only a few legal reasons why someone can contest or dispute a will.
- When someone believes a will is invalid because the testators did not follow proper legal procedures when writing their will
- If the testators did not have the mental capacity to understand what they wrote
- When family members believe the signature is a forgery
- If another person convinced your loved one to change the will for the influencer’s benefit
- When someone fraudulently misleads testators into signing unfair wills
While some people may not agree with the wishes stated in a will, there are no legal grounds to contest a will because someone does not like the outcome.
3. Kinship disagreements arise
Testators may accidentally leave a close family member out of their will. In these situations, family members must prove their relationship with the testator. These cases may cause extensive delays in distributing assets.
Knowing the acceptable reasons for contesting a will may prevent upset amongst family members should disagreements arise.