When you create an estate plan, one of the goals is to help prevent any fighting between your family members over the distribution of your property once you are gone. However, if your Will, trust or other estate planning documents are not clear or they contain inconsistent terms, a dispute among your named beneficiaries could still occur. If you have been named a beneficiary in a loved one’s estate plan (or you believe you were incorrectly left out), it is imperative that you seek legal counsel in objecting to the validity of the Will or trust document.
Even families who get along can encounter issues when a loved one dies. Everyone is emotional and feelings can easily get hurt. The following are a few examples of the types of disputes we see:
Challenging the Validity
The Last Will and Testament of the deceased can be challenged if it is invalid due to the forgery of the signature, the deceased or testator lacked the requisite mental capacity to sign the Will, or a third-party coerced the deceased into naming him or her as a beneficiary.
If your loved one established a trust, the appointed trustee has a variety of duties and obligations that must be met in a timely manner. Beneficiaries of the trust may allege that the trustee is not properly performing his or her duties, that the trustee has mismanaged the trust or is abusing his or her powers, or that the trustee has improperly distributed the trust assets.
Estate planning documents that are not clear or that have inconsistent terms often lead to differing interpretations. An interested party may challenge the interpretation the personal representative or executor has by submitting evidence supporting a different meaning of the estate planning documents.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is similar to a trustee or personal representative and has numerous duties and obligations. If the individual serving as the power of attorney does not meet these obligations or abuses his or her power, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit.
The above list is not exhaustive. If you are considering challenging a loved one’s estate plan, let us help. Contact The Law Office of Diane Anderson to protect yourself and your loved ones.