When a person dies and does not have an estate plan specifically designed to avoid probate, their will or assets must go through probate.
Probate is the legal process in which the court administers the person’s assets, whether they left a will or not. If they left a will, the court must ensure that it is valid. If they did not leave a will, the court will distribute assets according to intestate succession laws.
WHEN DOES PROBATE LITIGATION HAPPEN?
Probate litigation happens when disputes arise between parties, usually beneficiaries of the person who died, usually about one of the following:
- Disputes about the court’s distribution of assets
- Disputes about guardianship
- Disputes about the executor and their fiduciary duties
- Disputes about the will
- Disputes about guardianship (usually when children are involved)
Probate litigation can be complex and typically involves lawyers and family members of the deceased person. The legal process of probate can be expensive, lengthy and emotionally draining. Avoiding probate by solving disputes through mediation or negotiation is generally best.
GOING TO COURT
However, suppose the parties are not willing to work together. In that case, probate attorneys typically represent the parties in dispute, as they understand the legal process of probate litigation and can help protect your rights.
Probate litigation is a legal dispute that arises during probate, which is the court’s legal process of administering the estate of a person after they die. Contested wills, disputes over the distribution of assets among beneficiaries and and allegations that the executor of the estate has breached their fiduciary duty usually cause litigation.