Art imitates life and estate disputes as seen in films, television, and soap operas don’t quite differ largely with the ones that happen in real life. When a person, whether wealthy or not, passes away, he or she often leaves a will that sorts out to whom his or her properties, wealth, and other personal effects go. It is this will that determines the fate of such material possessions, which are often left to loved ones and family. One of the most common problems, however, is that sometimes the will is not updated to reflect the rightful heirs and beneficiaries at the time of the person’s passing. There may have been changes to the will that beneficiaries might not be aware of, causing disagreements that end up in court. Estate disputes can be caused by a number of factors, some of which are listed below.
- The beneficiaries disagree on what to do with the estate property. When beneficiaries inherit a property or pieces of property such as an ancestral home, they are often quick to decide to liquidate the asset. While it may hold sentimental value for some (it may be a family home or a vacation house for relatives), some beneficiaries who might be in need of cash might be quick to dismiss it and may want to sell the property. This estate dispute will require all beneficiaries to agree on a solution as to how to equally benefit from the asset.
- There is an inequity in terms of the distribution of assets among the beneficiaries. Parents can play favourites when it comes to their children and it can show in the will they leave behind. Estate disputes happen when beneficiaries believe that the assets have been unfairly distributed. Such cases also occur when a beneficiary has an outstanding loan to the testator that is not deducted from his or her share. This will cause friction between the beneficiaries, often resulting to an estate dispute.
- There is undue influence by the beneficiary upon the testator. During the last months or weeks of a testator’s life, there may be some incidents when the will is influenced by the beneficiary. The testator may become a victim or financial mistreatment or abuse during his life, especially if he is sick or incapacitated. Other beneficiaries may contest the will in these cases.
These are just some of the cases in which an estate dispute occurs. If you or your family members are caught up in this type of situation, it is best to consult with professional estate lawyers who have a full understanding of such cases. In fact, there are several benefits of consulting an estate lawyer for sound advice on how to proceed when dealing with estate disputes.
Estate Disputes Made Easy by Skilled Professional Estate Lawyers
Assist in determining if you are entitled to contest a will and assess your level of success.
Navigating an estate dispute can be very stressful, emotionally jarring, and altogether a challenge, especially for beneficiaries who believe they were unfairly left out of a will. Skilled professional estate lawyers can help beneficiaries like you as you deal with these trying times. One of the primary benefits of consulting an estate lawyer is knowing if you are entitled to contest a will. During their assessment, estate lawyers will assess your level of success if you wish to take to the court to contest a will.
Provide an estate dispute appraisal to determine your claim’s merit.
During the preliminary stages of the intent to file an estate dispute case, an estate dispute lawyer will provide an appraisal to determine your claim’s merit and to gain a deeper understanding of your circumstances. Once verified as having merit, your claim must be supported with evidence. This is where estate lawyers come in, as they will help you gather evidence to support your case.
Facilitate the request to remove an Executor of Will.
An estate lawyer can go beyond providing sound advice on your circumstances and assist you in the application to remove the executor of a will. This may occur in the event that the executor of the will has a conflict of interest or is being wrongly influenced by other beneficiaries. The executor of a will may be removed by order of the Court following an application filed by the beneficiary.
Expedite the process of lodging a Family Provision Claim.
Some states provide a deadline for making a Family Provision Claim, which is an appeal to the Supreme Court for a larger share of the estate of the deceased. This can only be filed by an eligible individual who has been left out of a will or who believes that he or she did not receive what they rightfully should have. There is only a window of time for such cases to be filed, which is why it’s important to consult an estate lawyer for sound advice on how to go about this process.
Assist in challenging a will based on undue influence or incapacity.
If you believe that the deceased had been under undue influence or was not at his best during the creation of the will, estate lawyers can assist in gathering evidence so you can contest the will. From medical records to other supporting documents, estate lawyers can help you in collecting evidence and building a solid case to challenge the will.
If you’re looking for an expert team of estate lawyers to help you contest a will, go for a group that has the expertise, experience, and sensitivity to handle your unique case. Hentys Lawyers specialises in handling estate disputes in Melbourne and their teams of professional, highly skilled and experienced estate lawyers offer unparalleled service that can help you resolve your case quickly, efficiently, and with as little stress as possible. To know more about how you can benefit from consulting an estate lawyer, get in touch today.
Don’t forget to have a read of our other blog; The Forfeiture Rule: Cleaver v Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association Case Study