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Top reasons for probate-related lawsuits

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | Probate

There are many reasons a probate proceeding can get tied up in a legal dispute.

Families in New York who are wanting just to see their loved one’s estates wrapped up will probably want to see these types of disputes resolved and with as little cost to the estate as possible.

On the other hand, sometimes legal action is necessary for a family, or a concerned person, to protect their legal interests and make sure their loved one’s intentions get carried out.

Legally speaking, only wills go through probate. However, many types of estate disputes can easily apply to situations involving trusts or other non-probate property.

Will contests are a common type of probate dispute

One common type of probate dispute is a will contest. Often, a relative who feels like they were unfairly treated will challenge the validity of a will.

If the challenge succeeds, then the court will throw out the will so that the family cannot use it to divide property.

It can be hard for a plaintiff to prove their case if they initiate a will contest. However, there are situations in which the deceased may have been lied to or unfairly pressured or controlled in order to get them to write their will in a certain way.

Also, to be valid, New York wills must satisfy formal legal requirements of this state.

Other issues may also lead to probate litigation

Will contests are not the only reason estates wind up in litigation.

  • Many times, a will may be valid but require some additional interpretation in order to distribute property.
  • Sometimes, there may be disputes over who should get what property or whether a creditor has a valid claim against the estate. Likewise, government authorities could allege that an estate owes taxes or other monies to the government.
  • In other cases, the family may need to sue in order to remove an executor who has been irresponsible or who has improperly handled funds in the estate. On a related point, the family may challenge the executor’s accounting of estate property.

Whether it is a good idea for a person to file suit over an estate issue will depend heavily on the circumstances. Likewise, an estate may have to make strategic decisions about how to handle legal cases.