Pirate Thespians

Trusts and Estates

Probate Dispute: Disagreements among Family Members

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015 in Trusts and Estates | 0 comments

Probate is the process wherein a Will, after being determined as valid, is carried out. The steps leading to probate begins with the filing of the Will at the proper court; with its filing is a request for its court approval. This is followed by the appointment of the Will’s executor, the person authorized by the court to administrate the state.

A Houston lawyer would inform anyone who is wondering how to set up their estate that a Will is a document which identifies a testator’s (the maker of the Will) assets and properties and the identities of those to whom he or she intends to bequeath these. It can also name the testator’s chosen executor of his or her estate – the executor is the person who will: carry out all instructions stipulated in the Will; make sure that all properties and assets mentioned in the Will are accounted for; pay all of the testator’s remaining debts and taxes; and, distribute the remaining assets to the testator’s heirs. The executor can be a family member, an accountant, a lawyer, or anybody, so long as he or she is someone who the testator fully trusted and who is, at least, 18 years old.

Despite having proven the validity of a Will, any identified heir or a child who was left out of the Will can file a petition in court to prevent the Will from being carried out due to a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Dissatisfaction of relatives with the decedent’s estate plan
  • The Will or Trust was drafted by the executor while he or she was mentally unstable
  • Suspicion of forgery on some parts of the Will or Trust
  • Different perceptions among family members on the meaning of fairness when applied to inheritance, such as a decedent’s child who believes it is only fair that he or she receives more due to the time, money and work that he or she put in, in taking care of the sick parent
  • Dispute between children of separate marriages or between children from a previous marriage and the present wife
  • Disagreement between the beneficiaries and a fiduciary (a person in whom total trust and confidence to protect and manage property and/or money has been given by the owner of such property and/or wealth).

Stopping a Will from being carried out (more commonly known as probate dispute) is usually nothing more than reemerging disagreements among family members. Though dormant for some time, these disagreements can be tension-filled, becoming misdirected anger that often end in lawsuits against one another.

A probate dispute can be complicated, burdensome, and upsetting. According to the website of the the Mokaram Law Firm, lawsuits can drag on for months or even years, often leaving estate beneficiaries with high court fees instead of an inheritance that will improve their economic situation for at least some time.

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