The passing of a loved one is a traumatic experience in and of itself. Often times this pain is exacerbated when it comes time to distribute the assets of the decedent’s estate. Disputes may arise regarding the language of the Will or even possibly the distribution of benefits that are meant to be payable-on-death. In some instances, the beneficiaries can work together to reach some sort of compromise. Other times, however, it is only through litigation that these disputes reach a resolution.
Wills can be challenged for a variety of different reasons. They can be challenged on the grounds that they were not properly executed, that the testator was incompetent at the time they executed their Will, and they can be challenged on the grounds that the testator was unduly influenced into changing their estate plan amongst other things. Likewise, the naming of a beneficiary by the decedent to receive benefits that are considered payable-on-death, and therefore not subject to a Will/probate, can be challenged for various reasons including actual or constructive fraud, duress, abuse of a confidential relationship, mistake, commission of a wrong or some form of unconscionable conduct.
Whether or not to proceed through litigation in these types of matters is a decision that must be made with careful consideration. Not only is the value of the estate and or benefits at issue, but so too are the potential costs of litigation and, as these instances often involve family, the potential impact the litigation may have on your family.
An attorney can explain the process of these types of litigation to you and evaluate your claims to help you determine the validity of your case and the likelihood of success. It is important to have an attorney who is experienced in these types of litigation represent you as the claims can often involve several different areas of law.
If you have questions regarding these matters, please call Sitzmann Law Firm Ltd.