What are the most common reasons for estate litigation?

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2022 | Estate Planning

Estate planning should be something that all California residents do to protect their families and future. However, there are certain situations that might lead to estate litigation for even the most cautious people.

Getting remarried

If someone remarries after a divorce, it can affect their estate plan. Even under the best circumstances, remarriage can cause problems with family members from the person’s first marriage. For example, if the individual failed to update their estate plan to include their new spouse, their former spouse might gain control over the assets. Another problem that can arise is that the person neglected to update their documents to ensure that children from their first marriage would be protected.

Undue influence

When a person creates their estate plan, they must be of sound mind and have no outside interference dictating what they do. Undue influence occurs when someone else manipulates a person into making changes that would adversely affect their beneficiaries. Usually, this is done for the selfish gain of that person; it’s also one of the biggest reasons for estate litigation.

Creditor disputes

After a person dies, their family members are not the only ones who can make claims to their estate. The decedent’s creditors are also due any outstanding debts that weren’t paid during their lifetime. When creditors seek payment to settle the debts that they are owed, it can lead to problems with the estate, including litigation.

Formality failure

All estate planning documents must follow the laws of the state. When things are amiss, it constitutes formality failure, which is a common reason for estate litigation. For example, if there are mistakes in the person’s will, the validity of the will itself may be questioned.

Outdated documents

Disputes can arise if the estate planning documents are very old and if there are questions about whether the decedent intended them to be the final copies. For example, if the will is more than a decade old and had not been updated in some time, it could be a source of contention.

These issues often lead to estate litigation. If you are making your estate plan, it helps to stay on top of potential problems.