The case of contested probate is on the rise. Each day, somewhere, the will of a loved one is being contested by a family member or loved one. Based on a reliable national study, about one in four people would contest a will if they are not satisfied with its content. According to experts, this behavior is down to the challenges of modern life, including the rising cost of properties. Go
Before we further, let’s take a look at what probate is.
What is Probate?
Probate is a household term in the estate realm. It is simply the process of determining the authenticity of a will. Or you can define probate as a process carried out to settle the affairs of an estate. This includes the payment of due taxes and outstanding debts, the appraisal of an estate assets, the act of locating estate assets, etc.
Having known what probate is, let’s delve into how one can contest a probate
- Get a copy of important documents
If you believe that the will of a loved one has been tampered with, the first thing to do is to obtain a copy of key documents of the estate. One of such documents is a will. This is significant when you suspect that the problem is not with the validity of the will, rather, its execution.
The executor may not be willing to disclose the contents of the will to you, as there are no legal requirements that compels the individual to do so. But, there exist protocols that urge the declaration of this key document.
- Review your relationship with the decedent
The next thing to do is to review your relationship with the decedent. Only specific group of people can contest a will. These people include, family members, the estate beneficiaries, beneficiaries under previous will, creditors, and individuals who were previously promised a portion of the deceased’s estate.
Generally, not everyone can contest a will. For instance, being an acquaintance to the descendent doesn’t automatically mean you can contest the will.
- Recognize your ground
Now that you are sure that you are eligible to contest the will, the next move is to contest the will. You can contest the will on these legal basis.
- Invalid will
- Incapacity of the estate owner
- Absence of knowledge and approval
- There are time limits
The earlier you take action, the better. Your case may not be considered if you choose to take action after a certain period of time. This happens when the time limit for your specific claim have passed. For most claims, you have 6 months from the date of grant. However, for fraud cases, there is no time limit.
Managing a Probate that has been contested
You will need the assistance of a probate attorney to effectively manage a probate that has been contested. An attorney who is familiar with the process should be able to point you in the right direction. Thus, it is important you hire a competent and experienced probate attorney.
A probate attorney is a state listened individual whose duty is to assist estate executors or administrators, beneficiaries, and estate owners. A probate attorney can help in several areas of the estate planning and probate process. They can help in creating a will, one that avoids the complicated probate process. They can offer valuable advice to estate owners, executors, and family members.
Due to their enormous experience in the field, including their familiarity with probate court proceedings, a probate attorney is your go-to person when embroiled in certain probate or estate planning issues. Furthermore, probate attorneys are very conversant with state probate laws including estate planning laws. This denotes that, they can seamlessly walk you through the probate process. As an estate executor, they can tell you what to expect, how to avoid major roadblocks that could derail the process, what to do to make the process faster, how to go about sorting out the deceased assets and how to settle unpaid debts and taxes, etc.
Do you need a Probate Attorney?
If you are eager to plan an estate that avoids probate, a probate attorney can be of great assistance. In fact, when it comes to estate planning and probate, you’ll need a good probate attorney by your side always. If you are looking for a good probate attorney to handle your probate or help you plan your estate, don’t look further. We have the best probate attorneys. Contact us now!