If you and your family are grieving the loss of a loved one, estate probation can be a distressing process.
The proceedings may be a more painful experience if the estate probate involves costly and time-consuming litigation.
What is probate in Massachusetts?
Probate is the procedure of transferring property and ownership after someone has died. Probate takes place when:
- The decedent’s will is not valid
- Ownership of real estate or personal property is only in the decedent’s name
- Creditors or taxes demand payment
What is probate litigation?
Litigation is the process of taking legal action through the courts. Estate probate can be a contentious ordeal if family members or beneficiaries disagree. Controversies, such as a will contest, may require a resolution by litigation.
A will contest—or will challenge—may include allegations of:
- The invalidity or questionable terms of a will
- Illegal alteration of the will
- Undue influence, or the claim that someone may have unethically persuaded the will creator to change a will
- Lack of formality, or the failure to conform to correct practices
- Lack of capacity, or the suggestion that the will creator could not agree to a contract because of a diminished decision-making condition
- Improper handling of the estate by the personal representative
Whether you are a personal representative of an estate or a family member concerned with the estate administration, you can benefit from learning the facts about probate. Understanding your options may help to honor the deceased loved one as well as preserve family relationships despite disagreements.