Five Problems That May Arise During Probate

upset man leaning on wall

The process of a probate proceeding can be long and complex even when everything goes smoothly, as you go about the process of validating The Last Will and Testament and distributing assets. However, there is always the chance that something will go wrong during this process, potentially resulting in complex and costly litigation. Here are just five problems that may arise during probate that you may need to deal with:

  1. Someone may challenge the validity of the will
    • One potential issue that may arise during probate is that the validity of the will is brought into question. This could be the result of genuine problems with the formation of the Will, or issues regarding the decedent’s capacity to execute the will or having been unduly influenced. It could be a result of an heir or other interested party having a problem with the distribution of assets as detailed in the Will. Regardless, simply challenging the will can result in lengthy legal procedures that may take years to resolve.
  2. Owned assets and assets listed in Will do not line up
    • Another potential probate issue that may arise is that the assets listed in the Will or in other documents do not match up with what the decedent actually owns. For example, the Will may list properties sold off years ago, or accounts that no longer exist. Alternatively, it may omit important assets, such as a recently purchased car or new investments that were never included in the estate plan. In either case, it will need to be sorted out in the accounting phase of the probate process.
  3. Need for immediate temporary relief
    • When the Will is being contested in a lengthy drawn-out process, and there is a house or business that needs attention or needs to be sold as soon as possible, an application for preliminary letters testamentary should be made. Typically, the named executor will be appointed for this purpose. However, this can be contested if the named executor is deemed unfit for such position.
  4. Decedent owed substantial amounts of money to creditors
    • Sometimes the issue is not what is in the estate, but rather problems that arise outside of it. Creditors, sadly, do not usually have the decency to leave a grieving family alone, and will sue an estate to collect on any debts the decedent owed. It can be a long and difficult legal struggle to protect the estate from debt collectors, tax collectors, and others who may want to take the estate’s money for themselves.
  5. One or more fiduciaries is neglecting their responsibilities
    • Fiduciaries like the executor of the estate, as well as any trustees placed in charge of a testamentary trust, have important responsibilities for ensuring probate goes smoothly. Unfortunately, they can neglect their responsibilities, or worse, abuse their authority to their own benefit. If this happens, it can lead to substantial legal woes and significant financial harm to the estate’s beneficiaries.

The Virdone Law Firm is here to assist Long Island families with all of their family law and estate law issues. We pride ourselves on providing unparalleled legal representation with a foundation in personalized client service. To learn more or schedule a consultation at our Westbury office, give us a call at (516) 858 - 11590, or visit our contact page.

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