Friday, May 14, 2010

Preparing for Family Dispute Over Will

Preparing for a family dispute over a will is wise. Two days ago, I spoke with a prospective client about how they are having a dispute over who was a proper heir of a deceased person. At issue is whether a person named "Sue" (made up name) is entitled to a share of "John's" estate even though nobody from John's family knew of Sue. With this estate, the legal battle has been going on since 2008. A lot of money in attorney's fees and costs have been spent due to a estate conflict.

Unfortunately, will contests and estate matters are often highly contested. One should prepare for a family dispute because each family has conflicts that can cause family strife. Who is likely to have a family dispute? Second marriages with step children are the most likely will contests. Second, a will where one family member gets a disproportionate share of the estate at the expense of the other siblings. Third, estate plans, which are too complicated and difficult to interpret. Fourth, matters where one sibling lives at home with mom or dad and another sibling is more successful. Thus, what happens is one sibling wants the family home while the other sibling wants to sell the family home. With most wills or living trusts, no provision or thought is giving to this situation.

In conclusion, my simple advice is easy. Prepare in advance, so your family avoid family conflicts. Conflicts ruin families and cost thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Living trusts unlike wills are a good option of decreasing the chance of a estate conflict or dispute. Living trusts provide privacy and there is no requirement of mailing out notices to disinherited heirs unlike probate court. I hope everybody has a great Spring day!

Sean Robertson, Esq.
Robertson Law Group, LLC
(312) 498-6080 or (630) 364-2318

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