For many, the process of developing a comprehensive estate plan centers only on the creation of a will and other documents. While this is conceptually true, a significant part of the process is tied to probate after the testator passes away. The probate process is a legal step necessary to complete numerous tasks including identifying heirs and distributing assets. Depending on the overall value of the estate, the process could contain numerous complex steps.
Even though the probate process is generally tied to distributing assets, there are numerous situations when resolving conflicts becomes necessary, including:
- Conflicts with family members: It is not uncommon for surviving loved ones to feel that the terms of the estate plan were unfair. A challenge to the will’s validity can center on arguments that the document is fraudulent, the result of writing made under duress or that the testator lacked the mental capacity to work on the legal document.
- Conflicts with creditors: With the passing of the testator, officials must notify creditors. Unfortunately, this could potentially lead to a dispute or legal challenge against the estate.
- Conflicts within the documents themselves: If the testator writes the estate planning documents (will, trusts, powers of attorney, etc.) using vague or unclear language, it can lead to issues during the probate process. Unfortunately, this can cause unnecessary and costly delays to the process while surviving loved ones attempt to grieve their loss.
The loss of a loved one can be an emotionally and financially jarring time. For many, the legal process can seem intimidating and unforgiving. Fortunately, to probate process exists to provide guidance through this difficult time.