Probate is the legal process of settling someone’s affairs after they pass away. This may involve paying the deceased’s debts, proving to the court that the deceased’s will is valid, taking stock of the deceased’s property, and dividing said property per what the deceased’s will or state law dictates.
Because the time following a loved one’s passing tends to be particularly emotional, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise during probate litigation. This especially tends to be true if the deceased did not leave a will. Keep reading to learn the most common reasons for probate litigation, and contact our experienced and compassionate Tulsa probate lawyer at Bundren Law Firm, P.C. representation.
9 Common Reasons for Probate Disputes
- Will & Trust Conflicts: In many cases, probate litigation will occur because one or more of the deceased’s family members or loved ones contests the will. These disputes often arise out of conflicts of interests, with one or more party alleging that another party has misrepresented their relationship with the deceased for personal gain.
- Will & Trust Exclusions: Just as often, someone will contest a will because they were left out of it, believing they have as much right to the deceased’s property as the other individuals named in the will.
- Issues of Undue Influence, Fraud, & Duress: In cases where someone has been granted particularly generous compensation in the deceased’s will, other beneficiaries may allege this individual manipulated or forced the deceased into awarding them an unequal share of their estate.
- Determination of Beneficial Shares & Status: In cases where certain beneficiaries named in the deceased’s will receive significantly less shares of the estate than others, it is common for litigation to occur.
- Trustee Fraud: A trustee is responsible for upholding a trust and accurately reporting details about what is stipulated in said trust. In cases where a trustee attempts to cover something up or change details of a trust, it may be possible to bring litigation against them. Beneficiaries are allowed to petition the court for removal of a trustee if fraud is suspected.
- Executor Issues: An executor of an estate is responsible for making sure the deceased’s estate is managed after they are gone. If someone fails in this capacity, litigation will often be brought against them.
- Power of Attorney/Guardianship Issues: Power of attorney and guardianship may be granted to someone to assist the deceased in making decisions if they are mentally or physically incapacitated before the time of death. If it is suspected that someone abused this responsibility, beneficiaries will often begin litigation.
- Testamentary Trust Disputes: A testamentary trust is a legal and fiduciary relationship created through specific instructions in the deceased’s will. This kind of trust is often used when a beneficiary receives assets in someone’s will, but is unable to collect those assets until a certain time. Whether over time limitations or other details, testamentary trusts are often disputed.
- Capacity Issues: If beneficiaries or administrators believe that the deceased did not have the necessary mental capacity to create a last will and testament that accurately reflected their wishes, it may be necessary to hire a lawyer.
Honor Your Loved One’s Wishes, Hire an Attorney Today
At Bundren Law Firm, P.C., our knowledgeable attorney handles probate litigation and various other family law matters. From divorce to guardianship, if you’re looking for a lawyer in Tulsa who will work overtime to honor you and your loved one’s wishes, you’ve come to the right place.
Call Bundren Law Firm, P.C. to schedule a consultation today at (918) 992-3300, or contact us online.