3 common reasons for probate lawsuits

When a family member dies, it is a time full of sadness and grief. Amidst all the emotions, the probate process begins. 

Probate can be a time-consuming, expensive and complex process. While you and your relatives are grieving, you may start arguing and even filing lawsuits. Here are some of the most common reasons you may start fighting with other heirs about the administration of the estate. 

1. Estate mismanagement

If there is a trustee or executor of the estate, this individual has a legal obligation to act according to the interests of the testator. He or she must adhere to the will, trust and any other documents. Unfortunately, not all estate administrators are trustworthy. Some examples of mismanagement include the following:

  • Favoring some heirs over others
  • Making unwise investments
  • Failing to communicate with beneficiaries
  • Misappropriating estate assets

If you notice any of these things going on, you may consider filing a petition or lawsuit to remove the trustee or executor. 

2. Out-of-date will

An estate can change drastically within a few years or even months. If the will was not updated recently, certain assets may not be in the document. You may argue with other beneficiaries about who gets these assets if there is no clear language regarding them in the estate plan. 

3. Undue influence

You may want to challenge a will if you believe the writer was a victim of undue influence. If you think something about the will is suspicious, you may think it is because someone manipulated your loved one. Undue influence is especially likely if your loved one suffered from any mental incapacity. If there is proof of undue influence, the probate judge may decide portions of the will are invalid. 

Going through the estate distribution process can be disheartening. If something is going wrong during the probate process, you may want to enter into estate litigation.