We often hear people talk of hoe difficult probate is and the multiple challenges faced during the process. If you haven’t experienced the probate process firsthand, you may not fully understand how difficult the probate process is or the challenges faced during the process.
As an estate owner or an estate executor, it is crucial that you are aware of the challenges that is faced during probate. If you are an estate owner, a little insight into challenges faced during this process will make you create an estate plan that avoid the process. On the other hand, an insight into the challenges faced during process will get an estate executor fully prepared.
As we progress in this article, we’ll be considering some of the challenges faced during probate.
What is Probate?
Probate is a process carried out to determine the authenticity of a will. In case a will isn’t present, probate is usually done to administer the estate of a deceased after death. The probate process usually take place in a surrogate court. It is the duty of the estate executor to represent the deceased and the estate beneficiaries in court.
Having understood what probate is, here are some challenges faced during the process.
- The individual designated as executor doesn’t want the role: When a will is made, the testator usually designate an estate executor. It is the job of the estate executor to manage the deceased’s assets and ensure that the probate process is completed without any hindrance. While most individuals designated as executor often take up the role, some don’t want the responsibility. If a person is who is designated as executor decides that he or she doesn’t want the role, the court may choose someone to administer the probate proceedings.
- A dispute over the value of the estate: Accurately valuing money, property, including other estate assets is important. One of the major reasons why precise valuation is very crucial is to determine if estate taxes should be assessed and in what amount. The IRS (internal Revenue Service) states that estate taxes will be assessed on estates with assets valued at $5.45 million or more. When an estate’s value is close to this amount or the New York’s threshold limits for estate taxes, questions of valuation can turn out to be high-stakes.
- A will contest: A will content is quite common and it usually occur when heirs (or potential heirs) believe that a will is invalid because it was written while the deceased was under undue influence or because the will wasn’t well executed. Anyone interested in contesting the validity of the will is going to prove why the decedent’s document is invalid and shouldn’t be enforced.
- An allegation that there is a newer will superseding the old one: Sometimes, there are several wills, thus, making it necessary to ascertain which is the newest and enforceable among all the wills.
- An assertion that an executor is not performing his or her rightful duty: A fiduciary duty remains the strongest obligation as far as the law is concerned. An executor to a will is a fiduciary and therefore is obliged to manage assets prudently for the cause of the estate including its beneficiaries. If an executor fails to perform his or her duty as requested by law or if the individual is caught siphoning the deceased’s assets, the victims affected by the breach of duty may be able to make a damage claim.
There are still other challenges that are faced during the probate process. The above mentioned are the most common of them all. Other challenges faced during this process are family disputes, the value of the assets being tampered with, etc.
Contact our office if you are currently facing one of the challenges mentioned above, or if you need a probate attorney. Our probate attorneys are experienced and versed in matters regarding probate and can help in ensuring that the probate process is done without any hindrance.