“Standard and uncontested.”
That is one online article’s assessment of how probate in California and elsewhere generally works.
That overview’s take on probate stresses that the process for finally settling a decedent’s estate in court is usually not problematic or controversial. Concededly, admitting a will, distributing property, paying estate taxes and attending to a few other core considerations can be time-consuming and even a bit pricey. It does not generally evolve into a gloves-off and bare-knuckles fight among interested living parties, though.
Sometimes, though, it turns exactly into that.
And when it does, the process known as probate litigation can indeed spawn conflict of major dimensions. The sources that drive a probate war can be many and varied. They include these factors:
- Alleged infirmities in a will relevant to construction and validity
- Questions surrounding a decedent’s or still living planner’s competence/capacity
- Belated material changes made to a will, trust or other estate document
- Spotlighting of alleged duress, undue influence or fraud
- Issues linked with blended families and a planner’s second or subsequent marriage
- Will’s disparate treatment of heirs/beneficiaries
- Challenges to a trustee or other fiduciary
Those bullet points denote just an abbreviated list of many additional concerns that also come to the fore in many probate challenges.
Timely and tailored input from a seasoned estate administration and probate attorney can go far toward reducing the likelihood of down-the-road disputes among living parties concerning estate matters.
As the above-cited article stresses, “good planning can reduce a large portion of probate litigation.”