Probate is the process of managing a deceased individual’s estate under State supervision. Sometimes, a dispute arises in the process. This is probate litigation.
You might have concerns about you or a loved one’s estate management. This article explains the probate process and why probate litigation can occur.
How does probate begin?
The probate process begins when interested parties or the executor files a petition. If there is a will, a judge verifies its authenticity. Without a will, the petitioner must qualify as a legitimate administrator of the estate. If an interested party believes the process was improper, they must file a probate litigation petition.
What causes disputes?
Some reasons probate litigation occurs are:
- When someone believes a representative overcharged for the probate process. If successfully petitioned, you can receive a refund on fees.
- If the interested party thinks an executor provided inadequate information about the deceased’s estate
- Surviving spouses might claim more assets from the estate. Without a will, the probate process distributes assets according to California Probate Law.
- Interested individuals might declare a will invalid
- Without a will, the family or interested individuals might dispute who acts as the administrator
- If the will creates a trust, interested parties can petition to remove trustees from the arrangement
After someone dies, the estate management process is not always straightforward. Hopefully, the estate plan is reasonable enough that no one disputes the distribution of assets. However, when an interested party objects or no plan exists, probate litigation might be necessary. Try to avoid disputes after you pass away by developing a careful estate plan and choosing legitimate heirs.