How to Handle Inheritance Disputes
Our Pearland, TX estate planning attorney explains common inheritance disputes and how they can be resolved or avoided.
In the aftermath of a loved one’s death, settling his or her estate is one of the many tasks that must be completed. Ensuring beneficiaries get what they are entitled to is an important part of this process. It is also one of the most common parts of the process in which issues arise. Inheritance disputes are common and can ruin relationships between family members. Our Pearland, TX estate planning attorney explains the most common causes and your options in handling them.
Four Common Causes of Inheritance Disputes
Estate planning helps to protect your loved ones and ensures your wishes are conveyed in the event of your passing. One of the most important tasks is determining who will inherit any property and assets you possess. This is one of the most likely areas for misunderstandings and legal disputes to arise.
Inheritance disputes can wreak havoc among family members while costing them significant amounts of time and money. Among the most common causes include:
- Lack of a will: According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), more than 60% of adults do not have a legally valid will in place. Without one, those you intended to inherit from your estate could end up being left out.
- Issues with intentionality: Even with a will, family members could claim that the terms outlined within it and the way distributions were made are not what you actually intended.
- Inequality in disbursements: Feeling as if the will is not fair or makes unequal disbursements among beneficiaries is a common cause of inheritance disputes.
- Wrongful acts: It can come as a shock when settling an estate to uncover that there was someone close to the person who failed to act in their best interests or committed wrongful acts. This may involve a caregiver who misappropriated funds or a financial manager who overcharged for their services and made bad investments.
Options in Dealing with Inheritance Disputes
In addition to hard feelings, inheritance disputes delay the probate process and can cost your intended beneficiaries significant amounts of both time and money. Options in handling these issues include:
- Make sure you have a legally valid will in place.
- Update it regularly to reflect changes within your family, your relationships, and your financial situation.
- Talk to your loved ones in advance about your intentions. This can help avoid misunderstandings at a later date.
- When choosing an executor, pick someone able to mediate among your beneficiaries.
Despite these precautions, inheritance disputes can still arise. When they do, formal mediation may be an option. If this does not resolve the issue, you may be able to contest the will through the Brazoria County Courts. In the case of wrongful acts, notify the police and take legal action.
Contact Our Pearland, TX Estate Planning Attorney
Attorney John Powell III, P.C. provides the trusted legal guidance you need to successfully prevent or resolve inheritance disputes. To discuss your case, call or contact our Pearland, TX estate planning attorney online and request a consultation today.