People write wills and other estate planning documents hoping their friends and family will respect their wishes regarding their assets and other end-of-life decisions. Heartbreakingly, this is not always the case.
For many different reasons, some estates end up in litigation. Whether the will stands as written, or the court finds reason to alter the will, depends on different factors.
What is estate litigation?
Estate litigation is a lawsuit filed by a beneficiary against an administrator, executor, or someone else involved in an estate to secure their proper inheritance. It may also be a lawsuit filed to reclaim property that belongs to an estate but was inappropriately distributed or to bring the court’s attention to wrongful actions.
What are the most common causes of estate litigation?
Estate litigation can take many forms. The more assets there are in an estate, the more reasons there are for misunderstandings, mismanagement, and disputes. Some of the most common causes of estate litigation in Texas are:
- Will contests, including invalid wills
- Disputes over the terms of a will
- Claims that the executor mishandled the estate:
- Misuse of power of attorney
- Breaches of fiduciary duty
Is it unusual to contest a will?
Studies show that only 0.5 – 3% of wills in the United States are subjects of estate litigation; of these, most challenges are unsuccessful.
If you intend to contest a will in Texas you should be sure that you have valid grounds. Carefully prepare your case and assemble your evidence to ascertain a successful outcome.