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    Family Feud: 5 Ways to Resolve a Probate Dispute

    When a person with assets dies, there should be a will that tells their lawyer who they want the money to go to and who will be the estate executor. But what if there is no will? What if the person led several different people to believe they would inherit the same money or property? What if several family members assumed, they would inherit large sums of money or property and the will leave the assets to someone else? Family feuds over inheritances can be long and bitter. Families can be torn apart.

    Family Feud: 5 Ways to Resolve a Probate Dispute

    Probate Court Can Resolve Inheritance Issues:

    The family members may hire lawyers to represent their claims in probate court. There are several ways that probate disputes can be resolved.  Some can be handled in the lawyer’s offices before it becomes necessary to go to court. But Probation court is  in probate court

    Was there one will? Were there several wills made out at different times? Were there verbal promises that can be documented? Was there undue pressure by one person on the deceased to change a will? Do some family members have unrealistic expectations? The conditions under which a will was written, the deceased person’s state of mind, changing family relationships, and other inter-family conditions may come into play.

    A lawyer can help the family members and other parties determine which claims are legitimate, which will apply, and who will inherit what in complicated probate situations. One goal is to preserve lifelong relationships. The other goal is to honor the wishes of the deceased loved one. Taking a probate case to court may become necessary.

    What Are 5 Ways to Resolve Probate Disputes?

    One way to settle probate issues is mediation. Mediation is a good plan when an issue can’t be decided by the court, the family members don’t have the resources for an expensive trial, when family members want to save continuing relationships, and before a case goes to court and the lawyer does not want to make relatives into adversaries.

    An important strategy for resolving probate disputes is to hire a lawyer to determine the intent of the deceased in the will. They can determine which of several wills is going to be legally recognized. A lawyer can review each interested party’s claim and determine which ones have legal merit and which ones do not. When all parties have the legal facts and determination, they may accept the lawyer’s legal opinion.

    Determine who can contest a person’s will. Legally, the only people who can contest a will are spouses, children, or people mentioned in the will.

    The fourth way to resolve a probate dispute is to prevent it by having a properly drafted will that has been updated to reflect changes in life. Leave organized accounts of debts, assets, and personal property in an easy place to find. Appoint an estate executor and or personal representative while you are still living and sound of mind and make your wishes clear.

    The fifth way to settle probate disputes is for all parties to hire lawyers and petition the probate court to contest the will. This is necessary if there is no will. If a will is overturned by the court, the assets will be distributed according to state inheritance guidelines. But wills are not easy to contest, and the final distribution may not be to the family members liking. Some wills have provisions that make fighting the will impossible.

    The best outcome is for the deceased person’s assets to be fairly distributed and the family members to remain on speaking terms.

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