People with different types of assets can use estate planning to ensure that their money and property are taken care of after death. It also ensures their wishes are carried out and can care for its beneficiaries. However, estate planning can also lead to disputes, which may require mediation or litigation. Some of the most common estate planning disputes include:

Will Contests

One common estate planning dispute that can arise is a will contest. A will contest a legal challenge to the validity of a will. There are many reasons why a will might be contested. This includes allegations that the will was forged, was not properly executed, or was made under duress. The parties involved typically go through probate litigation if there is a will contest. This is a process where the will’s validity is determined by a court. This will then be resolved following the court’s ruling, which is often binding on the parties.

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Trust Disputes

Disputes can happen when people create a trust to manage their money and property after they die. These disputes might involve who gets the money and property and how it is managed. Various causes lead to trust disputes, including mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty, improper distributions, or failing to follow the terms of the trust. These issues arise from the actions or inaction of the trustee.

If you are a beneficiary of a trust, you might have concerns about how it is managed. For example, suppose the trustee gives themselves $10,000 from the trust fund. In that case, this could be considered an improper distribution and could lead to a trust dispute. If you can prove that a trustee violates the trust agreement, you may be able to get the money back or some other form of compensation. However, you could only do this following the right due process by speaking to a skilled trustee dispute attorney to discuss your legal options. Their assistance will help protect your rights as a beneficiary and ensure that the trustee is held accountable for their actions.

Family Business Succession Planning Disputes

Disputes over family business succession can be a particularly contentious issue, as there may be different opinions on who should take over the business and how it should be run. This can lead to disputes between the beneficiaries or other interested parties and can potentially affect the business itself, especially if the business is forced to continue operating without clear leadership. To avoid these types of disputes, it is important to have a clear succession plan that outlines the different roles and responsibilities of the parties involved. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows their role in the business.

Power of Attorney Disputes

A power of attorney allows someone else to handle your finances or medical decisions if you become incapacitated. This can be a helpful tool if you become ill or injured and cannot make decisions for yourself. However, suppose the person granted the powers of attorney has shown signs of abuse, such as using the money for their benefit. In that case, you may have a dispute on your hands. If you suspect the person with power of attorney is abusing their position, you should contact an attorney. They can help you take steps to protect your assets and investigate the situation. If necessary, they can also file a lawsuit to revoke a power of attorney.

Guardianship/Conservatorship Disputes

When someone dies, disagreements can arise about who should take care of the person’s children or property. These disputes typically occur when individuals such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles feel better suited to care for the children than anyone else who might claim the same. In this case, the court will decide based on what is in the best interests of the conservatee. They often base their decision on the evidence presented. These often include testimony from family members, experts, and other involved parties. Likewise, a conservatee can also be an adult who can no longer decide on their finances or medical decisions due to health reasons. In this case, the same legal process may apply.

No one wants to think about estate planning disputes, but they can and do happen. By preparing for these disputes in advance, you can minimize the chances of them becoming a problem during the settlement process. If you are faced with a dispute, it is important to seek legal counsel right away so that you can get the help you need to resolve the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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