Issues Arising In Probate of Estates

"When it comes time to divide an estate, the politest men quarrel." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Disputes over an estate may arise for a great number of reasons, sometime of the unlikeliest kind. In many instances adult children have struggled to get along with each other until the last parent passes away when they can "let it all hang out".


Frequently an heir may come forward asserting that the parent was not mentally competent when the Will was executed, was pressured into signing the Will and, therefore contend that the Will is due to be rejected by the court. If a Will contest is successful, the estate may revert to an earlier, different Will or to the status of intestacy - no Will at all.


In other Probate cases, some of the heirs dispute the way in which the Personal Representative is managing property, alleging misuse and expropriation of estate assets. In these, and in many other scenarios, the Probate Court conducts a trial-like hearing, in certain instances empaneling a jury to determine the facts.


In the midst of such hotly contested issues, it is essential that the attorney investigate thoroughly and work effectively with the disputing parties and attorneys, to seek a fair and reasonable result for his client. Frequently, the object is to achieve a reasonable compromise settlement before the litigation devours the assets of the estate, dissuading unhappy heirs from seeking a full "pound of flesh".