Reasons for contesting Reasons for contesting

When the dealings of family members left behind decide they are not in agreement with the will and the estate, the estate can become contested in court. Those dealing with any legal matter knows the feeling seems to carry on into eternity. All emotions come out on the table, and it can get the most uncomfortable for family members. Everyone is already hurting at the loss of their loved one, and the battle of contested estates makes matters more complicated. It feels like children asking the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?”  These are some of the scenarios.

Timeline and Reasons For Contesting

On average, most lawyers will say the process of contesting estates will last around six months and go as high as two years. There can be many issues to say it can go that long, but most settle out of court.

Documents and proof can almost make an open and shut case, but the courts may get backed up with additional cases and leaves a waiting period. Other investigations have to take place for the reasons for contesting estates.

One of the worst battles is dealing with jealousy because this can make a case linger for as long as they can let it go. Most people give up when they know they will lose and settle out of court on the eve of the court date, while others run out of time and funds before then.

Some of the things that get looked carefully into are who signed the documents and were they pressured, under the influence, or were they fully aware of what they were signing. Fraud or mistakes is another thing that draws up red flags. Another issue is if the person at the time the will gets drawn up was mentally capable with no mental illnesses.

Abusing the Elderly Financially

The world would be surprised about how many cases come up in a lawyer’s office where the elderly person who made a will got taken advantage of by someone in their family. Usually, in these situations, a beneficiary will trick them into leaving them their estate. A financial advisor, accountant, or even a caregiver has been known to persuade or force an elderly person into doing this.

Other beneficiaries also try to go behind the others to get more out of the person who the estate belongs. Some will go as far as cheat the others completely out of their inheritance. All of these circumstances get looked into as they become criminal cases in the end, and charges can be filed. Jail time with fines ends up being the person’s inheritance with handcuffs for silver bracelets.

Contesting the Will

The will can get challenged if certain red flags get raised. If the person who the will is for did not sign it, the chances are incredibly high; it will get challenged in court. Sometimes there may be one or more problems with the witnesses. If only one or none of the witnesses signed the will, it is not valid. There have been some instances where one or both of the witnesses signed the will but did not have the full knowledge that is what they were signing. The last problem that has come up is that one or both were not over the legal age of 18 to sign the will.

When it comes to siblings, if one has more shares in the estate than the other, it will lead to problems. If the other sibling influences the situation, then it adds fuel to the fire, and the problems worsen. When people say the claws come out, they mean it. What is even worse is when one person in the will hide things in the estate to keep it out of everyone else’s reach. Most of the time, it is something of great value.

Battle of Accounts

When a person passes away, they usually have accounts that get added to the will, such as life insurances, 401K, IRAs, and jointly held assets. All of these can stir up arguments. Naturally, life insurance goes to the funeral costs before anything gets paid out to the beneficiaries.

Another issue that can become a nightmare is when a Power of Attorney abused their responsibilities. To sort out everything a Power of Attorney did while the person was alive to make everything right can add to how long the contesting takes. There may be fraudulent transfers and other illegal activities.

Overall Outlook of Contesting

When looking at different situations, it is easy to see there is no set time. All everyone can hope for is the best in these situations. Everything has to get done accordingly.

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