Not all probate processes conclude smoothly. Some have to go through some challenges either because proper plans were not put in place, or some issues spontaneously arose during the course of probate.
This blog posts explores some challenges that one may face while probating an estate.
Do you wish to work with an experienced NYC probate attorney to help you navigate the complex probate process? Contact our law office for expert assistance.
Common challenges people face during probate
· Settling creditors
Probate allows creditors of the deceased to put forward their claims. It is the responsibility of the executor or estate administrator – as the case may be – to settle these creditors using estate funds.
The problem lies in determining who is a legitimate creditor and who is a fraudster looking to reap where they did not sow. If you are an executor and you lack experience in dealing with such matters, it would save you avoidable complications if you hire the expert assistance of a probate attorney. They can help you address creditors and their claims skillfully.
· Insufficient funds to settle creditors and tax
For people who died leaving heavy debts, settling such obligations may become a big challenge during probate. The debts may be so large that there are no sufficient funds in the estate to settle them while leaving enough to settle estate tax, probate fees and distribute to beneficiaries.
In such cases however, there is always a priority of claim. Some financial obligations must be settled first before others in a sequential order. In spite of that, not all debtors will get back their money as some will have to let go or take a little.
· Will contest
A will is contested in NY Bronx when an unsatisfied party challenges the validity of the will or its terms. It may be because the party feels cheated in the will, and believes it wasn’t the actual intention of the decedent to have done so. This may give the party reasons to suspect foul play by another party who probably is now benefiting more from the will.
Will contests can arise when a concerned party alludes to fraud, mental incapacity or undue influence of the deceased, or the will missing some requirements for validity.
· Probate and estate litigation
Probate and estate litigation arises when one party sues another over a dispute during probate. They are court cases encompassing a variety of matters including guardianships, will contests, claims or defense of claims that an executor is not fulfilling their fiduciary duties, etc.
The concerned parties will have to hire estate litigation attorneys to represent them in court.
If you have been sued over an issue during probate or you wish to sue a fiduciary for their wrongful actions, feel free to call us for legal assistance.
· An executor rejecting the role
Not all people who are named executors would be willing to take on such a responsibility. Truth be told, it is a trying one, especially when the estate is large, and the family are at each other’s throats.
An executor may also reject the appointment out of lack of experience. Whatever the case, an executor is allowed to do so. He or she must file a petition to the appropriate probate court to be removed as the executor.
· Dispute over the estate’s value
Problems may also arise out of ignorance as to the value of the estate. The executor may fail to file the estate tax return form on time because he didn’t know there would be an estate tax at all. And that’s probably because they failed to properly valuate the estate to see that it exceeds the estate tax exemption amount. The state of New York imposes a tax on estates valuing above $5.93 million.
That’s why proper assessment of the estate’s value and it’s tax liabilities is essential.
A claim that there is a will created after the one admitted into probate
Problems may also arise when a concerned party asserts that there is a newer will than the one being probated. Legally speaking, only the original LAST will of the deceased can be valid. Any will admitted into court that’s found to have been superseded by a newer will must be discarded.
In cases where such claims arise, the court will have to determine which indeed is the latest will.
Are you currently facing challenges during probate or wish to avoid them? Our probate and estate litigation attorneys are always ready to give you the help you need. Contact us today for a hasle-free probate.