The Most Common Causes of Estate Litigation
Estate litigation can encompass a wide variety of disputes, ranging from will validity to accusations of undue influence. So what are the most common reasons that estate litigation arises in the first place?
The following are a few of these causes:
- Contested will or trust scenarios. People will occasionally contest a will or a trust, most commonly questioning its validity. Did, for instance, the person creating the will or trust do it while of sound mind? Did they create a will or trust in a legally binding way? Was there any vagueness at all in terms of who was inheriting which assets? These are all questions that will likely come up in a contested will or contested trust case.
- Undue influence. Occasionally, a person might claim that the person who drafted the will or trust was the subject of undue influence exerted by someone who stood to gain more out of the estate plan. This would make the will or trust invalid.
- Life insurance. Life insurance designations in estate plans could lead to litigation.
- Intestate succession. This is a particularly contentious scenario in cases where there is both no will or trust and a new spouse. Does the brand new spouse get to inherit the bulk of the property, even if the decedent was old and has surviving children?
- Financial abuse. In some scenarios, people who have control over a decedent’s finances could abuse that power to transfer money to themselves before the decedent’s passing. Family members of the decedent would begin litigation to ensure that the abuser would return this money so that it would be fairly distributed according to the decedent’s estate plan.
If you believe you have good cause to begin estate litigation, consult the skilled Tampa attorneys at BaumannKangas Estate Law.